Everything You Need to Know to Buy Legal Weed in California

Everything You Need to Know to Buy Legal Weed in California :https://greenweedfarm.com/blog/

Recreational cannabis use is legal in California—and now, shops are licensed to sell it. But who can buy it? Where can you smoke it? We answer all your burning questions.

Everything You Need to Know to Buy Legal Weed in California Can you legally buy a beer? Congratulations! That means you can also legally buy cannabis (pot, weed, marijuana) in California. Decriminalization came into effect on January 1, 2018, after voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016. California joins Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, Alaska, Maine, and Nevada in legalizing recreational cannabis use, making the state the largest legal marijuana market in the country.

Here’s what you need to know about getting high in the Golden State.

Who can buy?

You have to be 21 or older to buy recreational cannabis products (we’ll get to them in a bit) and present a valid ID—a driver’s license or a passport will do just fine—upon entering a marijuana dispensary. People with a medical marijuana card issued by a doctor must be 18.

Potany 101

Marijuana plants come in two main branches, indica and sativa. Indicas bring the body buzz, promoting relaxation. They are typically lower in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels and higher in cannabidiol (CBD) levels. THC is pot’s psychoactive element that fosters a feeling of higher energy levels and euphoria. CBD doesn’t cause a person to feel high and has a muting effect on THC. Sativas are typically the inverse of indicas, having higher THC levels and lower CBD levels, causing a trippier high. A third branch, hybrids, are crossbred plants that produce effects of both indica and sativas.

Dried marijuana buds, also referred to as “flower.”

What products can I buy?

Cannabis products are broken down into four main categories: flower, concentrates, edibles, and applications.

Flower refers to the plant itself—the dried buds of a marijuana plant—and comes in a seemingly endless variety of strains, each with clever monikers such as LA Confidential, Granddaddy Purple, or Nina Limon. Leafly is an excellent app and online resource to better know your strains. Flower is meant to be smoked either in joints or out of a pipe or bong.

Concentrates include a range of products made from trichome extractions taken from a pot plant. (Trichomes are those sparkly little crystals that cover mature plants.) Concentrates pack a more powerful punch than flower and are sometimes used to top off flower in a joint or bowl. The extracts come in a variety of forms, including kief, wax, and oils. One of the easiest ways to enjoy an extraction is with a vape pen. They’re sold in a nifty kit that includes a cartridge containing the oil, a rechargeable battery that powers the pen, and a charger that plugs into your laptop. Popular cartridge brands include Bloom Farms, Legion of Bloom, and Dosist.

Edibles are just that: food that has extractions incorporated into their manufacturing process. Look for cookies, gummy candies, lollipops, chocolate-covered anything (dried fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and raisins are popular), and even cannabis-infused drinks such as sodas, hot cocoa mixes, and cold-brewed coffee. While smoking brings on immediate effects, the effects of an edible can take as long as two hours to be felt and last much longer than simply smoking. Because it can take some time, people sometimes make the rookie mistake of over-consuming edibles. Don’t be that person. Kiva and Satori manufacture low-dose edible products. Start with those if that’s your thing.

Applications use extractions to target medical conditions primarily. High CBD products such as tinctures and patches are used to alleviate physical pain, anxiety, and even depression.

Where do I buy?

In California, you’ll need to visit a licensed dispensary to buy cannabis products. If you’re at a dispensary to purchase recreational weed, remember that it’s a medical facility first and foremost, so don’t whip out your phone to take a selfie. Respect patients’ right to privacy.

Also, bring cash. Although some dispensaries do accept credit cards, many do not.

When you get to a dispensary (use an app or site like Weedmaps to locate one near you), you’ll have to check in at the front desk with your ID to prove you’re of age, then you’ll need to wait your turn. Since recreational marijuana became available in California, long lines have formed at dispensaries, especially on weekends, overwhelmed by demand. Patience is key.

Once your name is called by one of the “budtenders,” take as much time as you need to discuss what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want to mellow out, or do you want to laugh and explore? The people behind the counter are well-informed and can talk in-depth about different products and will direct you to the item that’s right for you.

An alternate method for purchasing is using an app-based delivery service like Eaze. Go online or download it to your phone, create a brief user profile, upload your ID, then order away. Typically your product is delivered within an hour after placing your order, a convenient service for travelers staying at hotels or people who aren’t quite ready to come out as a cannabis user. Some dispensaries also offer delivery services. In the San Francisco Bay Area, places like the Apothecarium publish their full daily menu online and offer both delivery and in-store pickups, the latter helping to cut down on wait times.

Where can I smoke my weed?

Here’s the tricky part. While it’s legal to have recreational marijuana, it’s not legal to consume it in public places, just like alcohol. That being said, enforcement is a low priority for police, and, if enforced, a ticket comes with a relatively low $70 penalty.

While the law doesn’t allow it, societal norms in major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco do foster public consumption. Visit any urban park on a sunny weekend day, and the scent of marijuana will come wafting by at some point. Discretion is key.

Another option is to stay in an Airbnb that allows it. Even though they don’t have a filter for it (yet), a search of Airbnb for “420 friendly” will bring up listings of properties that allow guests to consume. Two sites, TravelTHC and Bud and Breakfast, market accommodations targeted specifically at pot enthusiasts.

Finally, consider a cannabis tour. Currently operating tours in San Diego, West Coast Cannabis Tours offers half-day jaunts that include visits to dispensaries and breweries, all on groovy, decked-out private buses on which you’re allowed and encouraged to enjoy your purchases. The company is developing new tours in LA and Orange County, set to launch later in 2018. In the Bay Area, Emerald Farm Tours offers a seed-to-sale tour, where participants visit a cannabis farm, a manufacturing plant, and a retail shop all in one day. The company plans to expand its tour offerings.

But what about the feds?

While medicinal or recreational cannabis use is legal in the majority of states, it is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government. In fact, it’s still a Schedule I drug on the federal level, putting it in the same category as cocaine or heroin. You can’t ship it or send it in the mail, and you absolutely cannot fly with it. For more details on federal law concerning cannabis, Americans for Safe Access is a great resource.

If you want to make sure you know every little detail on recreational marijuana use in California before you consume, visit GreenState, an online publication dedicated solely to the subject. But if you’re ready to explore the world of legal recreational cannabis, it’s high time you get to California.

Where can I legally buy recreational marijuana in California?

Anyone 21 and older can now legally buy marijuana in California with just an ID.

However, only shops with both local permits and state licenses to sell recreational cannabis can open their doors to customers who don’t have doctor’s recommendations for medical marijuana.

Special report: Cannabis Eve in California

The Bureau of Cannabis Control on Dec. 14 started issuing temporary licenses for recreational marijuana sales. Here’s a map of shops that are sanctioned to sell cannabis to adults. The map will be updated frequently, with new state licenses issued each day.

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, but your boss doesn’t have to allow it -- yet-226XIDBFDZBGBMQ353M57KFU6I.jpg

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, but your boss doesn’t have to allow it — yet

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, but your boss doesn’t have to allow it — yet  Using marijuana is legal in Massachusetts — but that doesn’t mean your boss has to allow it.

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Business advocates say company policies about marijuana use are currently all over the map. But a bill sponsored by Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, would change that.

Lewis’ bill, S.978, would forbid employers from penalizing or discriminating against an employee or potential hire for marijuana use outside the office and off company time, as long as the employee is not impaired while working.

“I think that we shouldn’t be discriminating against adults who want to make their own decision to responsibly consume cannabis on their own time, in the same way they can consume other legal products like alcohol,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ bill would not affect employers who are required to drug test due to federal requirements. For example, trucking companies or defense contractors are federally regulated, and their employees can be subject to drug testing for marijuana use.

An employer could still fire someone who commits a marijuana crime, such as selling to minors, or who cannot perform their job or maintain certifications needed for their job due to marijuana use.

The bill is pending before a legislative committee.

Lewis, a previous vice chair of the Legislature’s marijuana policy committee, said he was swayed by Bernadette Coughlin’s story.

Coughlin oversaw kitchen staffers at a hospital Methuen. She fell and broke her wrist and was sent for a drug test. She had used a vape pen three days earlier and tested positive for marijuana. The company fired her.

Coughlin has been lobbying the state to pass a bill to protect workers from being fired for using marijuana on their personal time.

“It just seemed like something that was unfair,” Lewis said. “And if this is happening to other people, or could happen to other people in Massachusetts, we should probably take steps to prevent that from happening.”

The Supreme Judicial Court, in a 2017 decision in Cristina Barbuto vs. Advantage Sales and Marketing, ruled that an employer cannot fire or discriminate against someone for using medical marijuana.

But the court has not yet ruled on any cases related to workplace protections for marijuana for non-medical use.

Chris Geehern, a spokesman for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which represents businesses, said company policies today are “all over the place.”

Federally regulated companies have not changed their drug testing policies, since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Most other companies, Geehern said, “are taking a wait and see attitude at this point.”

Geehern said some companies still drug test, but not for marijuana. Others continue to test for marijuana.

The difficulty with testing for marijuana is there is no scientifically accurate test to measure marijuana-related impairment, and THC can linger in someone’s body for days.

“You can drug test someone and you may come up with a trace of marijuana that somebody used a couple of days ago,” Geehern said. “So the real question is, is it impairing that person’s ability to run a … machine or drive a forklift or other safety specific occupations?”

Geehern said employers must figure out how to measure impairment — for example, in a person who uses marijuana in the morning, then comes to work. “That’s the uncharted territory that employers are dealing with,” he said.

Tamsin Kaplan, an employment attorney at Davis, Malm & D’Agostine in Boston, said she thinks Massachusetts employers are becoming more comfortable dealing with marijuana, since medical marijuana has been legal since 2012.

“Really the same common sense approach applies in this situation as it did with medical marijuana,” Kaplan said. “In many ways, it’s similar to dealing with alcohol, which we’ve been dealing with for a long time.”

Kaplan said she tells clients it is appropriate to test for marijuana if there is a safety concern — for example, if a job involves driving or operating heavy equipment.

Otherwise, she tells employers to consider whether an employee is living up to expectations in performing their job. “If they do, it’s a non-issue whether they’re off premises, off work time, using recreational marijuana,” Kaplan said.

If a worker is sleeping on the job or behaving inappropriately, Kaplan says she tells company officials to address that behavior.

Under state law, there are limited circumstances under which a company can drug test employees. One of the allowed times is when an employer has a “reasonable suspicion” that an employee is using drugs.

Employment attorney Erica Flores of Skolar Abbott in Springfield said since marijuana became legal, she has seen employers beefing up their policies regarding what constitutes a “reasonable suspicion,” training human resource workers on those policies and reminding employees that they can be drug tested if they act high while on the job.

“Just like with alcohol, it’s not okay to be intoxicated where you’re working,” Flores said.

Flores added that “reasonable suspicion” policies ensure that no one is tested unless an employer already has evidence to suspect they are impaired.

Trump Agriculture Secretary Accepts Invitation To Tour Hemp Farms-Screen-Shot-2019-04-11-at-8.20.38-AM-e1554996425394.png

Trump Agriculture Secretary Accepts Invitation To Tour Hemp Farms

Trump Agriculture Secretary Accepts Invitation To Tour Hemp Farms The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has accepted an invitation to tour hemp farms in Oregon, telling Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that it would help him learn about the industry as a whole.

In the latest in a series of lawmaker queries about hemp for federal officials during congressional hearings in recent weeks, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was again pressed on the issue when he appeared before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Thursday, with two members imploring him to “speed up” the rulemaking process to enact regulations that are required under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perdue said that he would “love to” expedite the regulations but that the department was currently prioritizing the dairy industry and it was more likely that the rules would be implemented in time for the 2020 planting season.

“This is obviously a new issue. It requires a lot of complexities because of its uniqueness in its product and similarities and things that many states and the federal government considers illegal,” Perdue said, referring to marijuana.

Merkley, the ranking member of the subcommittee, then extended an invitation to join him in Oregon for a “little tour of our hemp industry.”

“I welcome that actually,” Perdue said. “We need to know more about the industry as a whole. I probably know less about that than I do most of the crops, and certainly I would welcome that.”

“There’s no lack of enthusiasm for sure for the CBD oil and the others, and I’m interested really in what the fiber utilization is, because what are all of those industrial uses? Because as productive as an American producer is, I’m fearful that we can crash this market before it gets off the ground,” he said.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) asked Perdue if he was able to approve state regulatory plans for hemp and claimed that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was blocking Montana farmers from importing hemp seeds from Canada because of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perdue said that farmers are able to continue cultivating the crop under the rules of the prior 2014 Farm Bill that allowed limited research programs focused on hemp while the department develops new regulations for a commercial market. USDA is currently accepting state regulatory plans, he said, and it’s “news to me” that the DEA is interfering in hemp seed imports.

The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has accepted an invitation to tour hemp farms in Oregon, telling Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that it would help him learn about the industry as a whole.

In the latest in a series of lawmaker queries about hemp for federal officials during congressional hearings in recent weeks, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was again pressed on the issue when he appeared before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Thursday, with two members imploring him to “speed up” the rulemaking process to enact regulations that are required under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perdue said that he would “love to” expedite the regulations but that the department was currently prioritizing the dairy industry and it was more likely that the rules would be implemented in time for the 2020 planting season.

“This is obviously a new issue. It requires a lot of complexities because of its uniqueness in its product and similarities and things that many states and the federal government considers illegal,” Perdue said, referring to marijuana.

https://greenweedfarm.com/blog/

Merkley, the ranking member of the subcommittee, then extended an invitation to join him in Oregon for a “little tour of our hemp industry.”

“I welcome that actually,” Perdue said. “We need to know more about the industry as a whole. I probably know less about that than I do most of the crops, and certainly I would welcome that.”

“There’s no lack of enthusiasm for sure for the CBD oil and the others, and I’m interested really in what the fiber utilization is, because what are all of those industrial uses? Because as productive as an American producer is, I’m fearful that we can crash this market before it gets off the ground,” he said.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) asked Perdue if he was able to approve state regulatory plans for hemp and claimed that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was blocking Montana farmers from importing hemp seeds from Canada because of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perdue said that farmers are able to continue cultivating the crop under the rules of the prior 2014 Farm Bill that allowed limited research programs focused on hemp while the department develops new regulations for a commercial market. USDA is currently accepting state regulatory plans, he said, and it’s “news to me” that the DEA is interfering in hemp seed imports.

Watch the video of Perdue’s hemp comments at about 32:50 and 48:02 into the video below:

A spokesperson for DEA told Marijuana Moment that she was unaware of any ongoing involvement by her agency in hemp imports, noting that the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and hemp-derived products from the Controlled Substances Act and shifted regulatory responsibility for the crop from the Justice Department to USDA. The crop is “not our problem” anymore, the spokesperson said.

During the hearing, Tester also complained that, without USDA regulations in place, individuals can’t develop various aspects of the hemp market and he touted the longevity of hemp materials.

“I have a hemp hat that I’ve been trying to wear out for 20 years that I got out of Canada,” Tester said. “You can’t wear the stuff out.”

Perdue made similar comments about the timeline for USDA hemp regulations when asked about it during a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.

Indiana Lawmakers Amend Hemp Bill To Allow Smokeable Flower-esteban-lopez-272448.jpg

Indiana Lawmakers Amend Hemp Bill To Allow Smokeable Flower

Indiana Lawmakers Amend Hemp Bill To Allow Smokeable Flower,  as Indiana lawmakers consider a bill to legalize the production and sale of hemp, the state House of Representatives approved an amendment allowing people to smoke the flower of the plant.

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Currently, low-THC CBD products are legal in Indiana, but there are no clear processes in place to allow local licensed farmers to grow and manufacture the cannabis extract for commercial purposes.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp on the federal level, but left the responsibility of how to regulate the crop to states. Indiana Senate Bill 516, which aims to create those necessary systems passed a second reading in the House on Monday. The Senate approved the bill in February with a vote of 47 to 1.

To the dismay of many hemp advocates, the original text of SB 516 banned smokeable hemp flower.

Law enforcement have expressed concerns about officers’ inability to distinguish it from marijuana flower, which looks and smells similar. But Rep. Jim Lucas (R) proposed a motion amending the bill to allow smokeable hemp. The change was approved by the House in a narrow vote of 49-47, as first reported by TheStatehouseFile.com.

The amended bill now heads to a third reading vote, before which legislators will continue to debate its merits.

“The hemp flower, whether you agree with its medicinal benefits or what not, it’s still the easiest way for Hoosier farmers to enter this really emerging hemp market with the least amount of overhead,” Rep. Christy Stutzman (R) told Indiana Public Media.

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) has said he is “supportive of efforts to establish a hemp program” and is expected to sign SB 516 into law.

Shawn Hauser is one of the lead authors of the American Hemp Campaign’s model plan for state hemp programs. She told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview that the move to allow hemp flower in Indiana is “a positive development” for the industry, especially as other states work to create their own systems for regulating hemp.

A hemp bill in Texas, for example, passed out of committee on Tuesday without allowing smokeable hemp.

Smokeable hemp is a popular product in other countries, Hauser explained, and one that concerns law enforcement because of its likeness to marijuana. “There is still a lot of education happening with enforcement and regulators as to the difference,” she said. “We’re coming out of decades of hemp and marijuana being lumped together, which is why we haven’t been able to grow hemp in the United States for all these years.”

“It is important for hemp and hemp-derived products to be regulated and seen differently than marijuana,” she continued.

Not only are these plants different, but they have historically been consumed for different reasons. “A hemp cigarette and a marijuana cigarette are not used for the same purpose,” Hauser said.

With the right regulations in place—including those covering packaging and labelling—consumers and law enforcement will be better equipped to clearly distinguish between the two products, she said.

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/indiana-lawmakers-amend-hemp-bill-to-allow-smokeable-flower/

Illinois Senate committee OKs pot legalization bill without releasing details

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Pritzker told Capitol News Illinois in a podcast interview last week that there will have to be new entrants into the market, as well as added licensing fees for existing growers.

Illinois Senate committee OKs pot legalization bill without releasing details, SPRINGFIELD —There are no details filed yet for a bill to legalize recreational adult-use marijuana in Illinois, but that did not stop the state Senate Executive Committee from voting on the measure Wednesday.

As it stands now, Senate Bill 7 is what is referred to as a “shell bill,” or a vehicle to be amended with substantial language in the future. The shell bill passed committee by a 12-4 vote, with all four Republicans present voting against.

“We’re going to be coming back to the committee with the full amendment,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, the bill’s sponsor. “Hopefully we’re going to file it by the end of April and we’re going to have plenty of time to hear it and debate it.”

The actual details of the bill are being negotiated privately by lawmakers, the governor’s office and cannabis industry advocates who say the existing medicinal growing market has the capacity to meet the initial demand of adult-use marijuana legalization.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget contains $170 million in projected revenue from legalization. His office has said that projection is entirely dependent on licensing fees, not tax revenue.

If those revenue projections are to be realized, fees for cultivation centers and dispensaries would have to be exponentially larger than those in the medicinal program or hundreds of new licenses would have to be granted.

Steans, a Chicago Democrat, has said the program could include additional licenses for processing and transportation of cannabis and for craft cultivation centers.

Pritzker told Capitol News Illinois in a podcast interview last week that there will have to be new entrants into the market, as well as added licensing fees for existing growers.

“Some of them will be new entrances, no doubt about it,” Pritzker said. “Some of them will be existing growers that want to get into the adult-use side of the business, but they’ll all have to pay a licensing fee to get into the business.”

But it is unclear how much those licenses would cost, how many would be granted, when they would be made available, or in which fiscal year the revenue resulting from them would be realized.

Pro-legalization lawmakers and Pritzker’s office have also said criminal justice reforms would be included in the package for those incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses.

“The legalization of adult-use cannabis will bring fairness into a criminal justice system that has been unfair in particular to people of color more often than to others,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker also said it will be important for the state to regulate potency and purity of cannabis, as it is already being purchased, potentially unsafely, on the black market in the state.

MARIJUANA NEWS: Local Governments Sue to Stop Statewide Cannabis Delivery in California

Local Governments Sue to Stop Statewide Cannabis Delivery in California LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a major challenge to regulations that govern California’s marijuana market, Beverly Hills and 24 other local governments sued Friday to overturn a rule allowing home deliveries statewide, even into communities that banned commercial cannabis sales.

The League of California Cities and police chiefs had complained that unrestricted home deliveries would create an unruly market of largely hidden cannabis transactions, while undercutting local control guaranteed in the 2016 law that broadly legalized marijuana sales in California and created the nation’s largest legal cannabis marketplace.

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ryan Coonerty said in a statement that the state rule damages local marijuana businesses and “betrays the promise made to the voters” in 2016.

The significance of the lawsuit goes beyond home deliveries. It represents an important early court test of Proposition 64, the law that broadly legalized sales for adults. There have been numerous disputes over precisely what parts of the law mean, including the size of cannabis farms.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which drafted the rule, had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, which was filed late Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court.

The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the rule and prohibit state regulators from enforcing it.

Marijuana companies and consumers had pushed for statewide home deliveries because vast stretches of the state have banned commercial cannabis activity or not set up rules to allow legal sales, creating what’s been called pot “deserts.” Residents in those areas were effectively cut off from legal marijuana purchases.

The rule cleared by state lawyers in January sought to clarify what had been apparently conflicting regulations about where marijuana can be delivered in California.

The 2016 law said local governments had the authority to ban nonmedical cannabis businesses. But state regulators pointed to the business and professions code, which said local governments “shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads” by a licensed operator.

The cannabis bureau had said it was merely clarifying what had always been the case: A licensed cannabis delivery can be made to “any jurisdiction within the state.”

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In addition to Beverly Hills and Santa Cruz County, plaintiffs include the cities of Agoura Hills, Angels Camp, Arcadia, Atwater, Ceres, Clovis, Covina, Dixon and Downey. Also participating are McFarland, Newman, Oakdale, Palmdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Riverside, San Pablo, Sonora, Tehachapi, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock and Vacaville.

 

NEWS CONFERENCE: Lawmakers announce proposal to legalize recreational marijuana

NEWS CONFERENCE: Lawmakers announce proposal to legalize recreational marijuana

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Lawmakers announce proposal to legalize recreational marijuana

A proposal to legalize recreational marijuana was announced during a news conference on Thursday.

 

Cannabis 101 At The University Of Connecticut

Cannabis 101 At The University Of Connecticut 

Cannabis 101 At The University Of Connecticut The green, serrated leaves of cannabis are something you might expect to see on a college campus — perhaps grown secretly in a dorm, or emblazoned across clothing of students who support marijuana legalization — but certainly not within a college classroom.

At the University of Connecticut (UConn), cannabis is taking center stage in the biggest lecture hall on campus.

The university is teaching a whole class focused on growing just this one kind of plant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a popular class — around 300 students have signed up.

In the class, students have classes on topics such as seed selection, lighting, irrigation, and plant nutrients in order to learn how to best grow cannabis. It’s a skill that some students, like senior communication major Michael Milius, think may prove useful in their careers.

“I see on the news a lot that cannabis and marijuana are becoming more prevalent, becoming legal across the country,” Milius said. “I figured if this does turn out to be something that, like, a market pops up, maybe it would be good for me to know how to grow.”

Students aren’t learning about growing marijuana directly, but are instead learning to grow another type of cannabis: hemp. Though hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis, chemically, they’re different.

Like marijuana, hemp has cannabidiol (CBD), but unlike marijuana, it does not have enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to produce a high.

The market for hemp is growing. Due to its ability to create durable, breathable textiles, hemp is often used in clothing. Hemp is also used in beauty products, because moisturizing properties within hemp seed oil. There are even hemp food products like hemp milk or hemp protein powder.

The lessons students learn on hemp are directly transferable to marijuana, where the market is also growing. Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot, and medical marijuana is legalized in an additional 23 states. More states, like Connecticut and New York, are currently considering recreational marijuana legalization.

Course instructor, Matthew DeBacco, said the goal is to dispel myths and information “that may have absolutely no scientific basis” about growing the plant. For years, bad information may have passed between illicit growers, he said, and he wants to present a scientifically-backed way to grow.

Scientifically, there’s not much information about cannabis.

Gerald Berkowitz, a plant biologist and UConn professor who is helping to teach the course, blames the lack of cannabis studies on tight federal research regulations and negative stigma around the plant.

“There’s a certain culture associated with cannabis. I myself, am a Grateful Deadhead,” he said.

For about three years, Berkowitz and his students have been running controlled experiments on hemp at UConn. He wants to see more academics getting into cannabis research.

“There’s lack of peer review. There’s lack of scholarship. There’s lack of sharing of information,” he said.

This course could help legitimize the field of cannabis research, he added, as long as students “treat the course as seriously as we’re offering it.”

Madison Blake, a junior majoring in horticulture, said she has an interest in exploring cannabis as a career.

“I don’t know if that’s 100 percent what I want to do with my whole life, but I’m definitely interested in the plant and where it can go from here,” she said.

When it comes to their careers — and cannabis — UConn students like Blake are still figuring it all out.

NPR’s Amanda Morris produced this story for Digital.

John Boehner Was Once ‘Unalterably Opposed’ To Marijuana. He Now Wants It To Be Legal

John Boehner Was Once ‘Unalterably Opposed’ To Marijuana. He Now Wants It To Be Legal. John Boehner has been known to enjoy the occasional adult beverage. He famously nicknamed his negotiations over raising the nation’s debt ceiling in 2011 the “Nicorettes and Merlot sessions.” Nicorette because that’s what President Obama would chew during the talks. Merlot because that was the drink of choice for the former speaker of the House.

These days, the Ohio Republican has expanded his view of what should and should not count as a socially acceptable vice. He’s no longer just a wine enthusiast. Rather, he’s emerged as one of the most vocal advocates in the GOP for marijuana legalization.

To be sure, Boehner says he has never tried marijuana. “I’ve never used the product. I really have no plans to use the product,” he told host Michel Martin in an interview for NPR’s All Things Considered. “But if other people use the product,” Boehner said, “who am I to say they shouldn’t?”

His embrace of marijuana legalization marks a sharp reversal for Boehner since his time in Congress. In 1999, in his one and only vote on the issue, he voted to prohibit medicinal marijuana in Washington, D.C. In 2011, he wrote a constituent to say he was “unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana.”

But since his retirement in 2015, Boehner’s position has evolved. Last April, he joined the board of Acreage Holdings, a publicly-traded cannabis company based in New York. And on Friday, he appeared at the South by Southwest festival for a keynote on legalization.

“I feel like I’m like your average American who over the years began to look at this a little differently and I think over the last five years my position, it has kind of softened up and softened up,” Boehner said.

Part of this shift, he said, has been driven by conversations with veterans who have turned to marijuana to ease their suffering from chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, due to federal prohibitions, efforts to study the drug as a possible alternative to opioids and anti-depressants have been hampered at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I started to reach out to some of my friends, neighbors and others,” Boehner said. “And I thought, ‘You know, there’s more interest in this than I would have guessed.’ ”

Despite his about-face, Boehner said he had no regrets about his past position on the issue — in particular, what it meant for the criminal justice system. As Quartz reported last year, more than 400,000 people were arrested for marijuana sales or trafficking during his time as time as speaker from 2011 to 2015.

“I don’t have any regrets at all,” Boehner said. “I was opposed to the use of it. The whole criminal justice part of this, frankly, it never crossed my mind.”

Boehner’s reversal has mirrored a wider shift in the nation at-large. Today, 34 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In October, a Pew Research Center survey found that 62 percent of Americans said the use of marijuana should be legalized. When Pew asked the same question in 2010, just 41 percent of Americans were in favor.

Within Boehner’s own party, support is more tepid. In the Pew survey, just 45 percent of Republicans felt marijuana should be legal.

Asked about attitudes within the GOP, Boehner said, “States have spoken up, and I think even Republicans in Congress would recognize it’s time for Washington to get out of the way.”

Boehner said that a proposal introduced in the Senate by Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., “would solve a lot of problems for companies trying to operate” in states where marijuana is now legal. The measure, known as the STATES Act, would protect marijuana users and businesses in these states from federal interference.

He said the Food and Drug Administration should also reconsider its classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. The classification, which puts marijuana in the same category as heroin and LSD, has stymied efforts to study the potential health benefits of the drug.

Boehner said he’s not fazed by this relative lack of research, or by concerns that legalization would make it easier for heavy users to abuse the drug.

“It can be used to excess, and likely will,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that we should take wine or liquor off the market, or beer or cigarettes for that matter. And I do think that by decriminalizing, you’re going to open up a lot more research so we can learn more about the 4,000 year history of the use of this plant.”

This story was produced and edited for broadcast by Dustin DeSoto, Lilly Quiroz and Martha Wexler.


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