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COVID-19 Generates Medical Waste: An Environmental Concern

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While humans haven’t cherished the planet Earth in the best way possible, owing to the carbon emissions, plastic waste, etc, a new concern has come into the light. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc as it already has, sanitation workers came across a new kind of waste.

Sanitation workers are also an integral part of the health care industry as they maintain the cleanliness and the hygiene of the industry, and the country. They also had to deal with the waste in residential areas which increased to 40% in many parts of the United States.

COVID-19 medical waste

COVID-19

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With the current regular waste, additional COVID-19 waste is now flooding the oceans. This also includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This equipment is mandatory for all health care workers and others in the health care industry at all times. Moreover, it also includes disposable face masks, hand sanitizer bottles, and plastic gloves. Governments have advised the general public to use these items during their daily interactions outside their houses.

All of this COVID-19 waste was found beneath the Mediterranean, existing among the regular trash.

There is a need to worry

In 2018, the United Nations Environment Program reported that a consistent flow of 13 million metric tons of plastic per year, is flooding the oceans.

PPE is crucial for the safety of health care workers. Hence, a rise in demand is only natural. However, this demand is a huge concern, especially for disposable face masks.

Any plastic is already harmful to the planet. However, some products such as face masks could possibly take up to 450 years to decompose.

Last month, a French NGO recently looked into the Mediterranean sea-bed around the Antibes. They found 9 surgical face masks, 14 latex gloves, and over 200 litres of other medical waste. Environmental organizations in the United States are concerned regarding the rise in plastic pollution that COVID-19 has triggered.

Necessary actions

COVID-19 is a serious issue and while some countries have managed to control it, others have not. Hence, the waste is somewhat inevitable for a certain period of time, despite the attempts for regulation. Therefore, it is necessary to look at other aspects of plastic pollution and act upon it as needed. This would include disposable grocery bags, takeout containers, etc.

A balance between public health and the effect on the environment needs to be maintained. Furthermore, proper disposal of COVID-19 is necessary, especially for sanitation workers. This is because research shows that the virus can stay on plastic surfaces for up to 2-3 days.

CDC has reported that COVID-19 can be treated in the same manner as for regular medical waste. However, the regulations may differ by location. Furthermore, the state health and environmental departments, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Department of Transportation, will supervise them.

General protocols include burning, sterilization with steam, and chemical disinfection, before the disposal to a landfill. This is to minimize the public harm.

The other side

COVID-19 has raised concerns regarding excessive amounts of waste in oceans and plastic pollution. However, the environment has also experienced improvements recently in other areas, due to the reduction of carbon emissions, etc that the global lockdown and economic shutdown caused.

Last month, a piece of research was published in the peer-reviewed British journal, Nature Climate Change. The study showed the effects of the pandemic on carbon emissions. This was recorded as a 17% drop globally, peaking by the first week of April. Such levels were last witnesses in 2006, i.e 14 years ago.

The lockdown has been hard for the last few months. However, it restored the freedom of animals. Individuals have shared pictures and videos on social media, showcasing this freedom.

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Cannabis

Cannabis Stocks Off the Charts

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Cannabis Stocks Off the Charts

The global economy and as a consequence, the economy of the United States is exhibiting a feverish trend. Amidst all the problems, cannabis stocks are defying all odds and are continuing an increasing trend back towards their original starting value. The American Cannabis Operator Index shows a constant increase for the fifth consecutive month in February. The index is back to 93.70% up by 20.5%.

Defying the Pandemic with Cannabis

Although the year 2020 was a pandemic year, the index gains 45.7% even in it.

ALSO READ: Massachusetts To Enjoy Marijuana-Infused Seltzers

The index took off in October 2018 at a base value of 100. It fell to 70.64 in late December 2018. It then rallied as high as 119.53 in early April 2019 before selling off over the balance of the year and into March 2020:

During February, the index included 34 companies, including 31 multi-state operators (MSOs) and 3 focused solely on CBD extracted from industrial hemp. Five companies posted returns in excess of 40%, while four declined during the month:

Four of the best performing stocks in January were Indus Holdings (CSE: INDS) (OTC: INDXF), Red White & Bloom Brands (CSE: RWB) (OTC: RWBYF), 4Front Ventures (CSE: FFNT) (OTC: FFNTF) and Terra Tech (OTC: TRTC).

Indus Holdings will be changing its name shortly to Lowell Farms to reflect its acquisition. California cannabis operator Lowell Herb Co. took over the company Indus Holdings for $39 million. The stock, which was showing a downward trend in January, is now up 68.4% year-to-date.

Red White & Bloom has $6.1 million through a private placement convertible note, and also was able to get $8 million through warrant exercises and $7 million through the sale of debentures.  They will be funding a pending acquisition in Illinois.

RWB took the Platinum brand to Arizona. Moreover, they also got to Florida with the pending acquisition of the operations of Acreage Holdings for $60 million. 4Front saw the departure of its CFO hence the downward trend. Similarly, no news was given out by Terra Tech during the month.

Worst Performers By Index

The four worst performing stocks included Vext Science (CSE: VEXT) (OTC: VEXTF), Body and Mind (CSE: BAMM) (OTC: BMMJ) Cansortium (CSE: TIUM.U) (OTC: CNTMF), and Schwazze (OTC: SHWZ). Vext Science closed a C$20.7 million sale of units during the month. Body and Mind gave its fiscal Q1 financials, which showed strong growth, but the stock was hit perhaps by sales made by outside investor Australis Capital.

Cansortium fell for the second consecutive month. This may be because of disappointment from investors after seeing some of its Florida competitors in acquisition talks.

ALSO READ: Cannabis Industry, Celiac Disease, And Processed Flour

The company amended it convertible notes, extending the maturity by almost two years but also sharply reducing the conversion price. Schwazze, which was one of the strongest performers in January, repriced all of its options lower during the month. It also acquired two additional Star Buds dispensaries in Colorado for $9.3 million in cash, debt and preferred shares.

For March, the index will continue to include 34 stocks, with Liberty Health Sciences exiting following its acquisition by Ayr Wellness (CSE: AYR.A) (OTC: AYRWF) and Medmen (CSE: MMEN) (OTC: MMNFF) rejoining.

The index and stock movement is a helpful measure. It clearly defines the trends and showcases the performance M-o-M or Y-o-Y. These month-over-month and year-over-year measures help the stakeholders to predict the trajectory and make investments accordingly. This cannabis economy and the legalizing of the trade is bearing fruit for all stakeholders. It is a multi-billion dollar industry which is one of the few that is defying all odds even during the times of the pandemic.

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Cannabis Farm – A Story From Rags to Riches?

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Passion for Growing Pot, From Jail to Cannabis Farm

Johnny Casali of Huckleberry Hill Farms knows what it’s like to fight for his passion. At first, he used dense trees to cover his cannabis growing activities. Now, he embraces the crown of being the only licensed cannabis farm tour provider in the area.  Just a little further from Garberville in southern Humboldt County, his farm is the only one in the region that has a tourism license from the state.

The Emerald Triangle

Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties make up the ‘Emerald Triangle’. This place is known as the historic home of cannabis cultivation in the entire US.

ALSO READ: Mayor To Cut the Ribbon on Cannabis ‘Cookies’ Inauguration

Over the past 40 years, Mr. Casali grew cannabis among the redwoods of California. This was an attempt to hide his illicit operations during the decades-long war on drugs.

Huckleberry Hill is now the undisputed go-to spot for people visiting the area as it is one of the first cannabis farms to be awarded a tourism license. This allows Huckleberry Hill farms to host tours and overnight guests.

From hiding in plain sight to peeling back the “Redwood Curtain”, the journey of Huckleberry Hill farms is definitely a great one. Casali provides an all-natural tour of the farm, starting with greeting his goats, Willie and Nelson. Popular cannabis brands such as Willie’s Reserve buy regularly from him.

The farm owner has his residence just below the farm itself. A bright green ranch house with a redwood deck. If we travel downhill, there are two ponds and several gardens that add to the overall look and feel of the place. The ponds are available for fishing, should the guests feel like having some trout. The trees provide ample cover from sunlight but let enough through for the perfect growth of cannabis. The overall look and feel of the farm is both immaculate and enjoyable.

Huckleberry Hill farms literally have to change from hiding in plain sight to welcoming guests to see what’s inside.

Licensed Cannabis Tours

The path to greatness has not been an easy one. In 1992, when authorities did not allow marijuana cultivation in California, Casali was taken in by federal agents when they caught a glimpse of his cannabis gardens.

Casali was charged as a nonviolent offender and faced a four-year-long case after which he was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison in Lompoc. He got out at eight because of his good behavior. But if he went back to growing it again after his release in 2000, is still unsure.

He says his county has seen the most heat from the feds and authorities and calls it the “bull’s eye of the dartboard.”

ALSO READ: Texas Med Store Starts Selling Cannabis-Infused Gummies As Medical Marijuana

Casali was the first one to get a license when they started giving out one. But the costs and fees are so high that merely selling cannabis will not even allow a breakeven. The system is a faulty one and favors large corporations. The Emerald Triangle produces some of the finest weed in the country. During the prohibition days, the region’s potential has largely been closed to outsiders.

Casali sees this history and quality, a combination of novelty and heritage, as an attraction. Marketing this will not only boost the local economy but also transform the area into a top destination. Casali and other growers think they can change this area into the likes of Napa and Sonoma. Napa and Sonoma provide a heaven on earth experience for wine-lovers from all around the world.

Casali and other farmers in the area think this multi-billion dollar industry has its roots in this region and the region must get the credit for it.

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Colorado In Need Of Regulations To Restrict Marijuana Concentrates To Keep Teens Safe

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Colorado In Need Of Regulations To Restrict Marijuana Concentrates To Keep Teens Safe

Medical facilities in Colorado are seeing a spike in young psychosis patients. These patients are experiencing some sort of a disconnect from reality. Doctors are comparing these conditions to medical conditions that arise under schizophrenia. The one thing that these patients have in common is the use of high-potency marijuana concentrates.

Are High Potencies Dangerous? Does Marijuana Require Warnings?

Although marijuana is in use for centuries as a medicine and for fun, the risk high-potency marijuana poses to mental health is substantial. The sheer amount of risk makes it unavoidable. Like cigarette packets, marijuana also needs to be under regulation.

High levels of caffeine are under regulation for the safety of the public, and so are tobacco products. But the absence of any such measure in the case of marijuana allows unfettered access to high-potency marijuana for everyone. Even teens with a medical marijuana card can just walk into stores and buy the prescribed limit. The baffling thing is that they can do so over and over again without anyone noticing. They can source enough concentrate to get their entire class high for a week.

ALSO READ: Mayor To Cut the Ribbon on Cannabis ‘Cookies’ Inauguration

Senior doctors at the medical center of Aurora think that high-potency marijuana concentrates are responsible for psychosis in adolescents. Chris Rogers, the medical director of child and adolescent services at The Medical Center of Aurora, also affirms the idea.

Chris Rogers is also a former president of the Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Society. According to him, adolescents exhibit extreme paranoia and sever their ties to reality under the influence. Further, the patients believe that doctors and parents are against them. Moreover, they also consider food and water as poison.

These results are not attributable to the conventional joint. The drug industry has seen progress. The newly made chemically isolated THC in a crystal-like or liquid substance is inhaled after heating. This process is called dabbing. The end-products contain THC between 60 and 90% THC.

A Pain Reliever For The Old Generation May Spell Trouble For The Coming One

What set out to be a remedy for our aches, pains, and anxiety has now become a worry. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have documented the prevalence of marijuana use, particularly of these high-potency concentrates, among patients suffering psychosis.

Current studies are trying to find a link between the two so as to avoid any ambiguities. Patients suffering from psychosis are more likely to be using cannabis and other drugs to self-medicate. A study also links high psychosis in cities with easy access to high-concentrate marijuana. This was in addition to a high rate of concentrate use among patients seeking psychosis care.

ALSO READ: Texas Med Store Starts Selling Cannabis-Infused Gummies As Medical Marijuana

People must know what they are using. Lawmakers need to take action, capping the potency of marijuana products to something along the lines of say 30% can do the trick. This 30% is about the same concentration that anyone will find on the actual flower as the nature presents it for use.

Other things that the legislation must consider is setting up of a computer based system. This system will allow purchases to update in real-time so that abusers don’t find a way to secure high potencies. No one is asking to ban marijuana, the only aim is to think along the same lines as other drugs are regulated.

A timely action can safeguard the interests of the country and the world as a whole. The teens are the worst hit group of the society and they need a lot of help from the lawmakers to stay on the right path.

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