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Massachusetts – Recreational Cannabis Stores to Reopen on May 25

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Under a plan that was released by Gov.Charlie Baker on Monday, regarding the gradual restart of the economic activity in the state, sales could resume in cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts, as early as next week.

The reopening plan is a four-phase plan and a variety of establishments will be allowed to offer curbside pick-up, beginning from May 25.

This announcement is a major development for cannabis store owners who either feared that the reopening of their stores would be delayed for a long period, or suffered from lost sales, ongoing rent payments, and other business expenses, while also unable to be allowed to file for federal small business assistance.

On March 24, a sweeping statewide shutdown went into effect for non-essential businesses, in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Ever since then, the pot shops that were given the restriction to only sell medical cannabis, are now included in the list.

Despite the closure of recreational cannabis stores, medical cannabis dispensaries were allowed to continue sales by the curbside pickup, with the compulsion of following social distancing guidelines between employees and customers.

Previously, the idea of keeping dispensaries open for the sales of recreational cannabis during the shutdown was dismissed by Gov. Charlie Baker. He held an argument that doing so, would lead to attracting visitors from around the region which could potentially worsen the situation by furthering the spread of the disease.

According to The Associated Press, Gov. Charlie Baker had reportedly said last month that there were significant numbers of customers who were not Massachusetts residents and would obtain cannabis from recreational dispensaries in Massachusetts. He further added that if the government were to make those sites available to anybody from the northeast, it would ultimately lead to going against the entire strategy that the government is trying to pursue.

In New England, Massachusetts is the only state that has allowed the opening of recreational cannabis dispensaries. Due to the statewide shutdown, the closure was forced on more than 40 licensed retail cannabis establishments.

However, Gov. Charlie Baker was sued by a group of dispensary owners, last month. They argued that the authority was exceeded by the governor, and there were violations of the constitutional rights of cannabis users due to the classification of the pot shops as non-essential, especially when similar regulated businesses, such as liquor stores, were granted permission to stay open. However, a superior court judge later sided with Gov. Charlie Baker.

Under the new guidance of the governor, in case of reopening, the development of a written plan is essential for the businesses that were not already deemed essential, in an attempt for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, posters on hygiene and social distancing for the customers and workers are important and must be displayed.

In the first phase of the plan, retail establishments are included. Moreover, In the second phase o the plan, shops could expand their operations. However, the governor has further warned that a spike in new COVID-19 infected cases could cause the state’s progress to slow down, or possibly reverse.

A cease and desist order was previously issued to adult-use cannabis operators in the state by the Cannabis Control Commission of the state, for the enforcement of the governor’s non-essential businesses shutdown.

While the order was amended last month, it allowed adult-use facilities to sell their products to medical cannabis shops during the public health emergency, which in turn was responsible for a 158% increase in patient applications.

There was no immediate response from the CCC to a request for comment from NBC10 Monday on the reopening plan of the governor.

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Cannabis

Texas Passes New Hemp Industry Regulations

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Hemp

Hemp has been a staple of human use since antiquity. Rope is made from fibers of Cannabis sativa, while the leaves and shoots are also used often. However, in Texas, the USA, the absence of stringent regulatory laws in the industry have been noted.

Food, drinks, and cosmetic goods all come from hemp-based cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol). For this reason, the Texas Department of State Health has issued a new set of laws and a deadline to conform.

The set of laws include new mandatory licenses and quality inspections

The government had intended to straighten up the hemp industry with two key laws. Both of these laws were put into effect as of August 2, 2020. Firstly, all hemp manufacturers, processors, and distributors must obtain a compulsory license. This license is available for $258 per hemp facility, and it is now illegal to operate without it.

Furthermore, hemp businesses must register the stores where their products are sold by October 2, 2020. This will cost an additional $155 per outlet. Each of these licenses is valid for one year, and they must be renewed upon expiration at the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

Secondly, hemp products are now subject to random inspections. To ensure safety and quality standards, state health officials will carry out tests for safety and quality standards. They will also inspect the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive agent in giving users their ‘high’).

This is because the federal legal limit of THC is 0.3%. Aside from this, the state health officials will also look for harmful germs, heavy metals, and chemicals.

Texas still has a ban on the smoking of hemp

Despite the recent laws, it should be noted that Texas’ stance on smoking cannabis is still conservative. Even the consumption of cannabis in food, for the purpose of getting high, is still illegal. The possession of any cannabis product with over 0.3% of THC is still a misdemeanor. The only acceptable use of THC products is as an additive, and these new regulations reflect that.

Despite the legality of hemp, Texas is still a state that only recently allowed this. Hemp was only legalized for industrial use in 2019. This was by the passing of House Bill 1325 last June. Republican State Sen. Charles Perry backed that law.

The law was a major shift from previous conservative stances in the state. This bill legalized hemp distribution, production, and usage for the first time in the entire state’s history.

Increased imports of THC products led to these new regulations

The move to introduce these two new laws was somewhat surprising to most. With respect to hemp, Texas has long been considered among the most conservative states in the country. Hence, it’s only understandable that it would keep the substance banned even as others have legalized it. However, Perry has since gone on to mention why the sudden regulation was implemented.

Speaking in a press release, he stated that the move was made because of increased imports of related goods. Such goods came from countries and states that he believed to have subpar quality assurance. Therefore, the hemp was made safer and more reliable by putting the focus on regulating local producers.

After all, the quality of imports cannot be improved directly. Perry went on to praise the efficacy of his bill. He claimed the new regulations would significantly improve the hemp commercially available.

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American Heart Association Study Links Cannabis To Increased Risk of Heart Disease

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Studies on the effects of cannabis on cardiac health emerged from a scientific paper by the American Heart Association (abbreviated AHA). One of these studies, released on August 12, 2020, refers to THC and CBD. Both of these are key ingredients in cannabis products.

The study finds that there is no clear positive benefit to cardiac health by these substances. A similar study to this mentions a possibly greater risk of strokes or heart attacks in consumers.

Both THC and CBD are held responsible

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are both major ingredients in consumable cannabis. THC is the chemical that causes the ‘high’ of the drug, which is arguably the most important aspect of its use. Cannabis is largely considered non-addictive, yet it is still frequently and routinely used.

However, in certain individuals, unmonitored use of cannabis has led to medical emergencies too. In these, hospitals have reported cases of cardiac failure and atrial fibrillation (a type of dysrhythmia).

THC, in these studies, has been linked with over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. What this means is that it can trigger the body’s ‘fight or flight’ mechanism above normal limits. This could lead to anxiety, palpitations (heart skipping beats), and hyperventilation (breathing too fast). Hyperventilation can cause excessive levels of carbon monoxide in the blood, which is also harmful.

Conversely, it seems odd that CBD, on the other hand, seems to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. In most findings, researchers consider it responsible for lowering heart rate. Furthermore, it promotes the dilation of blood vessels and reduced blood pressure. So THC, in this case, does seem to be the bigger culprit in heart disease.

However, there is one major drawback in all of these studies. They are only related to patients that smoke cannabis and don’t cover edibles. So, consumers of cannabis-laced foods or beverages may have less to worry about.

The mode of taking the drug can have a dramatic difference in health. These latest studies all indicate that inhalation of cannabis, along with tar and smoke, may worsen effects. In such cases, this undermines both cardiovascular and lung health. These harmful substances can also lead to toxicity by carbon monoxide, and cause respiratory issues.

The studies aren’t meant to be definitive or conclusive

These studies do come from a credible source. However, even the authors and publishers warn that these are not meant to be conclusive. This is because they are based on correlation, not causation.

To put it simply, they indicate that the ingredients of cannabis can be linked to heart disease but not necessarily cause it. Robert Page, who is the author of the paper, admitted this in a recent interview. Rather than evidence they are based on incidences and events, so he called them “observational”.

More studies are needed before we decide if cannabis can be considered safe or not

“…The public needs fact-based, valid scientific information about cannabis’s effect on the heart and blood vessels,” Page claimed. He was referring to the relative lack of such conclusive studies available on the issue. Hence they should be carefully considered, though they are technically valid.

The absence of data on cases of orally ingested cannabis is another limitation of the study is, once again. Most experts already believe that smoking and vaping are quite unhealthy. This is compared to, suppose, just eating a marijuana brownie. So until then, the matter is still up in the air.

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Mike Tyson Helps Launch Cannabinoid Beverage Company, ‘Smart Cups’

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To most, he is known as the former World Heavyweight Champion and established celebrity personality. But Mike Tyson, in a surprising turn of events, has begun a new line of the venture – The manufacturing of 3D-printed cannabis beverages that are called ‘Smart Cups’.

This simple-yet-effective stab at the instant-made cannabis beverage simply requires water. It dissolves the dehydrated cannabinoids, or any other desired substance, that are etched into the bioplastic cup’s bottom surface. 

Smart cups is a game-changer

The intended purpose of a device so convenient lies beyond sheer convenience. Smart Cups aims to safely and efficiently quantify, according to dosage requirements, of the cannabis in the drink. Simply put, a known quantity is added to a great degree of certainty to the consumer, given that dilution is irrelevant.

Increased dose accuracy makes the consumption safer and less unpredictable than traditional routes of administration. For new and inexperienced cannabis users, it potentially spares them of an unpleasant trip.

This concept is concisely summed up in a recent quote from a Forbes interview with the founder of Smart Cups himself, Chris Kanik: “In this specific application, we use water-soluble cannabinoids and are able to precisely print them on virtually any surface…The printed actives and flavors are released when they come in contact with a liquid (be it water, soda, saliva, etc).”

Kanik also went on to compare the Smart Cups’ guarantee of dose accuracy with that of the traditional pharmaceutical industry. He pointed out that aspirin is never doubted in its dosage. (The aspirin is a commonly used drug available over the counter to treat a variety of issues).

This is because of the given strength, for instance, 100mg is universally accepted to be true and reliable. Up until the advent of Smart Cups, he claimed, such a high degree of faith in the product was unmatched.

Tyson Ranch fully backs Smart Cups

Meanwhile, Smart Cups moves on to make a name for itself. And“Iron” Mike Tyson is slated to use his established cannabis enterprise, Tyson Ranch, to bolster the latter’s technology. This shared interest has seen Tyson Ranch make use of their state-of-the-art 3D printing resources to further carry Smart Cups.

Tyson himself said in a recent Forbes interview, “For the Ranch Companies, it is very exciting to be working with Smart Cups’ technology because it gives us the opportunity to make anything that is possible with this innovative tech…”

Tyson expressed faith in the vision of Smart Cups. He named their reliable method to give consumers exactly what they paid for. And not trouble them with unpleasant and sudden over- or under-estimates in terms of the strength. 

That said, there is no official word for when Mike Tyson’s fascinating new product will be available on the market, much less about which regions it will be available in. We advise readers to check Tyson Ranch’s official website for the latest updates on product availability, pricing and more. 

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