Tag: Industry

Can The Standard Hotel Really Open a Cannabis Shop in Its Lobby?

Less than 24 hours after California’s Board of Cannabis Control released the state’s cannabis regulations, The Standard Hotel has announced the coming of the world’s first hotel lobby cannabis shop.

“The Standard and Lord Jones, makers of the world’s finest cannabis and CBD infused products, today announce a multifaceted brand partnership, which includes the opening of the nation’s first cannabis retail location inside of a hotel,” said a media release that came across the Leafly news desk this morning. “Lord Jones plans to launch its retail flagship within The Standard, Hollywood, in early 2018*.”

That asterisk there? It’s important. It reminds fine-print readers that the hotel lobby boutique is “subject to approval from regulatory authorities in California.” In other words, Lord Jones will have to obtain a California cannabis license before opening the doors. And that won’t be an easy task for anyone.


Video: Lord Jones Throws Cannabis-Infused Sound Bath Events and They’re Incredible

After consulting the hundreds of pages of regulations issued yesterday, our news team could find no specific reg that prohibits a hotel from opening a cannabis boutique within its lobby. The Standard Hollywood, located on LA’s Sunset Strip, is about a half-mile from the nearest school, which is more than legally adequate, although we don’t know if there’s a daycare nearby that might disqualify the location. And of course, the site would still need to obtain authorization from the city.

It’s not a bad idea, though. With its aggressively hip design and Sunset Strip location, The Standard seems a perfect location for the world’s first hotel cannabis shop. Pick up a little something in the lobby, head up to the hotel’s famous blue astroturf pool deck, and enjoy California’s finest product with some friends in the toasty sunshine. Or use the pool deck to host one of Lord Jones’s sound bath events.

Let us know when you get the license, The Standard. We’ll be there for the grand opening.

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Alberta Will Sell Cannabis Through Private Retailers and a Government Website

The Alberta government has introduced legislation that, if passed, will see private retailers selling cannabis at brick-and-mortar stores and the province conducting online sales starting next July, when the federal government legalizes cannabis for recreational use.

The minimum age for cannabis consumption will be 18 years old.

The provincial government says this hybrid model of sales is a response to the wishes of people who took part in an online consultation and survey.

At a press conference, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said her government has been required to make “a major shift” in a short amount of time. She said the Trudeau government has set “an ambitious deadline” for legalizing recreational cannabis.


Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

“At the end of the day, we had to choose between moving forward and anticipating that we’ll be ready or just leaving it to the federal government. We felt it would be better to move forward with a framework that reflects Albertans’ concerns and values,” she said.

Some other highlights of Bill 26, An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis:

• The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will obtain and distribute legal cannabis to the private retailers as it now does with alcohol.

• The province has determined that cannabis will not be sold in places that sell tobacco, liquor or pharmaceuticals—but has yet to release details about how the private stores will operate.


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• Smoking or vaping cannabis will be banned in the same public places where smoking is currently banned, including bars and restaurants.

• Consumption of cannabis will also be banned on hospital grounds and in places where children gather, including schools, daycares, pools, playgrounds and sports fields.

• The minimum age for consumption will be 18 years old.

• Adults will be allowed to possess 30 grams of cannabis at any given time.

The government has the power to allow cannabis cafes and lounges to exist but there are no plans for that yet.

Quebec’s Cannabis Regulations: 8 Takeaways

On Thursday, Quebec’s Liberal government tabled Bill 157, the legislation outlining the system of sale and distribution for legal cannabis in the province. Though Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois describes it as “an evolving plan” which is “not the end,” since “it is certain we will have to adapt,” some facts about it are now fixed.

A crown corporation will be created to sell cannabis products on behalf of the Government of Quebec.

The purpose of the legislation, reads the text of Bill 157, is “to prevent and reduce cannabis harm in order to protect the health and security of the public and of young persons in particular. The Act also aims to ensure the preservation of the cannabis market’s integrity.” Certainly the law’s ability to do that will be up for debate, as critics are already attacking what they see as the legislation’s faults.

Here are eight of the most important factors introduced by Bill 157.

1. The legal age for consumption of cannabis in Quebec will be 18, which was previously semi-confirmed by Liberal government sources in late September. This is in line with the recommendation of the Canadian Pediatric Society, which acknowledges that THC can be harmful to a child’s brain development, but underlines that the brain develops much less between the ages of 18 and 21.


Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

2. A crown corporation, the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC), will be created to sell cannabis products on behalf of the Government of Quebec. The SQS will be administered as a subsidiary of the Société des Alcohols du Québec (SAQ), which distributes alcohol in the province. However, SAQ storefront outlets primarily sell wine and spirits, since lower-alcohol content beverages (beer, wine, and malt liquor products) are legal for sale in grocery stores and dépanneurs. The SQS will be the sole body permitted to sell cannabis products under law. It will also be the only organization allowed to buy, transport, and store cannabis from licensed commercial producers. No forms of cannabis will be approved for sale privately.

Quebec will begin by opening only 20 cannabis storefronts across the province.

3. Though Quebec has a population of 8.3-million, the SQC will begin by opening only 20 storefront locations across the province for the sale of cannabis. However, cannabis will also be available for sale online, provided that it is delivered by Canada Post and signed for by someone of legal age. By contrast, alcohol is available in 406 SAQ outlet locations across Quebec. Unlike SAQ outlets, the 20 SQC storefront locations will not allow minors to enter. No cannabis products in SQC will be accessible to customers without employees handing them over, and no cannabis products are to be made visible from outside the outlets. Each SQC outlet must install a sign on or close to its door including a warning from the Minister of Health “concerning the harmful effects of cannabis on health.”


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4. While the law does not explicitly outlaw edible cannabis products (in fact acknowledging the possibility of “edible and non-edible” products being subject to government regulation), it does criminalize any attempt to modify the flavour, aroma, or colour of cannabis products. (Au revoir, flavored vape pens.)

5. Despite federal law allowing home-growing of up to four plants of no more than one metre in height, home-growing of cannabis for personal use will remain outlawed in Quebec, and all commercial growing of cannabis will remain illegal except in companies licensed by the government.

Smoking cannabis will be legal in palliative care hospices with designated smoking areas.

6. Smoking or vaping cannabis will be illegal wherever smoking tobacco is illegal under Quebec law, limiting cannabis consumption  more or less to private homes, as well as unenclosed public parks. Also off-limits are obvious locations such as schools and child-care facilities, as well as pubs, taverns, bars, bingo halls, and “enclosed spaces where sports, cultural or artistic activities, or similar activities are held.” However, smoking or vaping cannabis will be legal in palliative care hospices with designated smoking areas. Fines for smoking or vaping cannabis in “an enclosed space” other than a private residence will range from $500 to $1,500, while fines for those who do so in an enclosed space that is also an educational institution or child-care facility will range from $750 to $2,250.


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7. There will be “zero tolerance” for driving under the influence of cannabis. Police will be able to take saliva samples from drivers and potentially impound vehicles for up to 90 days if any presence of cannabis or other drugs is detected in drivers’ saliva. However, there is no ready means available to measure blood-cannabis levels, and recent studies suggest no reliable means exist for exact measures of cannabis intoxication such as are available for alcohol.

Quebec repeated its demand to the federal government to delay the deadline for cannabis legislation at least one more year.

8. On Wednesday, in the leadup to tabling Quebec’s cannabis legislation, the Liberal government of Premier Philippe Couillard repeated its demand to the federal government to delay the deadline for cannabis legislation at least one more year. Health Minister Lucie Charlebois and Finance Minister Carlos Leitao declared that the provincial government would not accept a 50/50 split of cannabis tax revenues with the federal government, and Charlebois argued the two governments needed more time to figure out how to divide cannabis tax revenues. Ottawa previously ignored a similar request by the Quebec government in June.

How to Be High in Las Vegas: Let’s Gamble!

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in Vegas.

Cannabis and Games of Chance Are Good Old Friends


“It’s not talked about much, but (cannabis) is pretty pervasive in the poker culture.”

Dutch Boyd, three-time World Series of Poker champion

It’s true: Cannabis has been part of the gambling experience for many years for many people, from giggly high folks plugging away at penny slots to the three-time World Series of Poker champion Dutch Boyd.

“It’s not talked about much, but [cannabis] is pretty pervasive in the poker culture,” Boyd told Leafly this summer, happily allowing that both his recent championship and the post-win “Thriller” dance he performed on the casino floor were at least partially inspired by cannabis.

Still, just because cannabis use exists in the gaming world doesn’t mean casinos welcome or allow it. Even with recreational use now legal, cannabis remains forbidden in casinos, which adhere to federal law, which still classifies cannabis as an illegal Schedule I narcotic.

This anti-cannabis stance of casinos isn’t a pose—ask Isaac Dietrich, former CEO of the cannabis news and information site MassRoots, who this summer was removed from the Wynn casino on the supposition that his gambling money was potentially profit from a federally illegal enterprise.


Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Nevada, Summer 2017

So what are cannabis-loving gamblers to do? Furtively imbibe somewhere that’s not a casino, then get their discreetly high butts to a gaming floor?

I’m not here to tell you what to do. For that, let’s turn to Christopher Lee Womack, a poker player and licensed cannabis wholesaler in Colorado, who testified to the rightness of combining cards and cannabis in his own life—“It allows me to have an intoxicating buzz while still being able to think clearly”—and offered these tips for cannabis fans interested in exploring Vegas gaming

1. Take a class. “Pretty much every casino offers free classes on gaming basics,” says Womack. “Get real high and take a craps class, or a blackjack class. Classes are usually every morning at 7, 8, and 9 am, and students are sent away with a matched bet of $15-$20 to get themselves started. If it’s been a while since you played a game, go to a class! Casinos want you to gamble, they want you to have fun, and they’re ready to help you do both.”

2. When establishing your highness, stick to energizing, brain-awakening strains. “Stick to your sativas,” Womack says. “They’re gonna keep you calm and aware and relaxed. You just want to have your wits about you, and I find leaning toward the sativa side helps.” Any particular strain he likes for card-playing? “I like Flo. It has a great flavor, great look, great smell, and is just a great bud.”


Cannabis Strain Recommendations for Beginners and Low-Tolerance Consumers

3. Set a gambling limit and stick to it. “Being high and gaming, you want to be cautious, you want to be safe,” says Womack. His top recommendation: setting a strict dollar-amount you’re willing to gamble (i.e. willing to lose) and sticking to it. It doesn’t matter if your limit is high or low—what’s important is compliance with a foreordained logical decision, to keep you out of the magical-thinking zone when things go good or bad.

4. Stick to what you know. “You want to have fun while you’re high, so don’t do anything crazy like play a game you’ve never played before,” Womack says. “Don’t go play high limits all of a sudden when you’ve only got $1,000 in your pocket. It’s about entertainment and fun. If you win some money, that’s great.”

5. Get very high and spend $5 in the slot machine of your choice. Christopher Womack has nothing to do with this tip, it is all mine. By some intricate miracle of targeted commerce, Las Vegas is home to 50 million slot machines, the best of which are high-tech multimedia explosions on a theme, and there is literally something for everyone. Love Downton Abbey? Enjoy the official slot machine, featuring looped video clips from the show and a thrilling orchestral swell upon each win. Love Dolly Parton, Sex and the City, Tim McGraw, Ellen DeGeneres, or the 1992 mob comedy My Cousin Vinny? Vegas slot machines have got you covered. And again, set a limit and stick to it. You’re here for fun, not to lose your shirt to a one-armed Real Housewives-themed bandit.

How to Be High in Las Vegas: Eat Food

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in town. 

Las Vegas Is the Entertainment Capitol of the World. This Includes Your Mouth.

From sensuous dining experiences to hardcore munchie indulgences, Las Vegas is loaded with seriously pleasurable experiences for people who eat. This is especially true for people whose senses are enhanced by cannabis, which can make peanut butter on a saltine taste like ambrosia so God knows what it can do to the professionally impressive fare of Vegas.

To find out, I got myself blissed out on a series of infused pre-rolls from the downtown branch of Canopi, waited for the munchie itch to hit, then steered myself towards a series of Vegas eateries, starting with…

Burger Brasserie

A Burger Brasserie burger (but not the one that costs $777) (Courtesy of Burger Brasserie)

Located in the mini-Eiffel-Tower-enhanced Paris Las Vegas Hotel, Burger Brasserie bills itself as a “sports bar with a French twist!”—cheeseburgers are available with brie, and instead of cheerleader outfits, hostesses dress in lingerie. It’s like the fanciest Applebee’s you’ve ever seen, staffed by Vanity 6.

It’s like the fanciest Applebee’s you’ve ever seen, staffed by Vanity 6.

It’s also perfectly great, with a vast menu offering something for everyone, from hot dog sliders and onion rings served with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-flavored ranch to the legendary 777 Burger, featuring a Kobe beef patty topped with pancetta, goat cheese, seared foie gras, Maine lobster, and served with a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne (cost: $777).

En route to a show at the nearby Bally’s and unwilling to clobber my munchies with a full-on, potentially sleep-inducing feast, I ordered sensibly, restricting myself to a $14 cheeseburger with a veggie patty and zero milkshakes. Among the jilted shakes: the Cap’n Crunch, featuring vanilla ice cream, Cap’n Crunch cereal, and Captain Morgan spiced rum; and the Peanut Butter and Chocolate, featuring both name-checked ingredients plus amaretto.

As is morally correct, Burger Brasserie’s veggie burger featured the classic Morningstar Farms-style patty preferred by everyone who’s ever smooshed a fancy chef-made veggie patty out the sides of an artisanal bun. Yes, flavor is important, but so is structure, and if your veggie patty can’t withstand a human bite without crumbling, you suck.

The food was good, the menu offered something for every budget, and the service was speedy. Though that might’ve just been the servers trying to keep warm in their camisoles.

Cravings at the Mirage

Cravings buffet, AKA Six Flags for your mouth. (Courtesy of Mirage)

Vegas is famous for its all-you-can-eat buffets, and I sought out one of the most beloved: Cravings at the Mirage, where $30 buys you access to an expansive universe of food plus unlimited beer and wine (!).

Our plan of attack for the buffet: Aim for stuff we’d never make for ourselves at home.

Billed as “the Ultimate Buffet,” Cravings is essentially Six Flags for your mouth. Along its walls reside eleven cooking stations, each representing a distinct locale and a crowd-pleasing approximation of its cuisine. (The “Latin” station features a taco bar, the “Asian” station offers sushi, and the three-quarters of the earth covered by water is repped by The Fishmonger.)

With me at Cravings was my guy Jake, who was also very high and pitched a sensible plan of attack for the buffet: Aim for stuff we’d never make for ourselves at home.

For Jake, this meant early Thanksgiving at the Cravings carving station. He returned with sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac n’ cheese and returned for seconds. “Hot sliced meat is what carnivores come to buffets for,” he explained.

For me, it meant a tightly focused exploration of Foods Made Soggy by Cheese. From the Latin station, I got a small plate of queso-drenched tortilla chips. From Italy, a sensible platter of fettucine alfredo. From Jake’s plate, a thief’s portion of mac n’ cheese. And from the Cheesebread Fjord—essentially a make-your-own pizza party with fancy bread—I concocted a portion of pain au soggy frommage.

At the dessert bar, I took revenge on all the shakes I neglected at Burger Brasserie by assembling a Vegas-scaled soft-serve ice cream concoction, loaded with every ridiculous thing I could throw at it with a plastic scoop. I ate a third of it, and felt no guilt. Also, neither Jake nor I took advantage of the free all-you-can-drink booze, but we look forward to the unlimited dab bars of the future.


Spago: Home of killer prawns, famous movie scenes, and occasionally Siegfried! (Courtesy of Spago)

Located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace—the upscale mall featuring outlets by Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, plus a Gap and Cheesecake Factory—Spago is the creation of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and hailed as the spark that ignited Vegas’ current fine-dining scene.

It’s also the site of a crucial scene in the terrible movie Showgirls, and after seating us, the maître d noticed me craning my neck to look around the sprawling dining room. “Is there something I can help you with?” he asked, with professional politeness.

The maître d was all grace, even though I’d essentially asked, “Can you point me toward the ditch where they shot that porno?”

“Um, there’s a scene in the movie Showgirls…”

“Right over there, sir,” he said, gesturing toward the very table where Nomi and Cristal commiserated sexily over doggie chow. The maître d was all grace, even though I’d essentially asked, “Can you point me toward the ditch where they shot that porno?”

This was but the first magical moment in my Spago experience.

Offering “seasonal cuisine with global influences,” the Spago menu was, on the day I visited, skewing Italian, so I ordered a classic Caesar salad and the spicy linguine with prawns. Both were straightforward and deeply, perfectly delicious, in that there’s-a-reason-some-chefs-are-worth-$75-million way.

The prawns in particular—grilled to surface crispness and exploding with flavor—sent my high-as-hell ass straight to heaven, with each bite providing a feeling of absolutely certainty that there is nothing better than this.

And then I notice Jake, sitting across from me with his eyes fixed on something over my shoulder. I turn to look, still chewing, and find myself looking in the eyes of a man who very much resembles Siegfried—of “& Roy” fame, but Roy’s not here, just Siegfried, his identity confirmed by his spangled blazer, flowing locks, and luxurious, believe-it’s-me gaze. “I am Siegfried,” his eyes say. “You’re welcome.”

As Siegfried wafts past, I swallow the last of my narcotic prawn, my ultimate Vegas experience unlocked.

How to Become a Judge at a Cannabis Competition

Becoming a judge at a cannabis competition may just be the ultimate bucket list item for a cannabis enthusiast. After all, the prospect of being given dozens of cannabis products to rate and review seems like a literal dream come true to the budding ganja connoisseur.

However, there’s much more that goes into judging a competition than meets the eye. If you’re considering applying to be a competition judge, this guide will help you determine if you have what it takes to qualify and can provide a basic understanding of what the judging process entails.

Who Can Judge a Cannabis Competition?

Judge's samples of cannabis product for a cannabis competition(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

Determining who can qualify to judge a cup depends on the type of competition or event. On one end of the spectrum are closed competitions, where judges are hand-selected by staff officials based on merit and experience. These judges are often well-known professionals within the industry, so this type of event isn’t typically open to the public for judging.

On the other hand, some competitions are completely open to the public, requiring absolutely no prior experience, qualifications, or affiliations within the industry. In these cases, those interested in judging simply purchase a pass ahead of time in the same manner as someone who is planning to attend the event.


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Many competitions have adopted a vetting system whereby applicants fill out a questionnaire detailing their experience and industry affiliations. While the public is open to the application process, the event’s staff is given the final say in who is selected for the judging process. This system has become more or less commonplace for competitions today, as it provides fairly open access to the public as well as some control for the event staff to determine qualifications.

How to Qualify to Be a Judge

A judge's kit of samples for a cannabis competition(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

There are no universal qualifications that must be met when applying to be a cannabis competition judge. However, a few considerations should be taken into account before applying.

1. Do you have any prior experience in competition judging?

Understanding the nuances of a particular competition can help you gain an edge when applying as it shows you have a basic understanding of the process. Although not required, having prior experience will go a long way if you’re being vetted for a judge position.

2. Are you an industry affiliate?

If you’re applying to judge either a closed competition or one with a vetting system in place, having industry affiliation can give you the competitive advantage over other applicants. Your ties lets competition organizers know that you could be more experienced with the industry and with cannabis products, and can display a fundamental understanding of the qualitative measures taken to judge submissions.


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3. Are you local to the event?

Many competitions require those who judge to be local to the event. This is due to several reasons, the most important of which is that products must be distributed beforehand in order to provide judges with an ample amount of time to review and submit their considerations. Remember, it’s federally illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, so people who live out-of-state can’t pick up their samples and fly or drive home to another state and try them before the event date.


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Aside from these three considerations, having a basic understanding of the judging process may be the most qualifying factor in becoming a competition judge. Contrary to what some industry professionals would have you believe, judging a competition requires much more of you than simply consuming massive amounts of cannabis in a concentrated timespan while indiscriminately assigning numerical values to the samples at hand. Although each competition weighs qualitative assessments differently, having a keen understanding of how to rate and review a cannabis product is paramount.

One must be proficient in the following areas:

  • Understanding terpene profiles (e.g. the difference between an OG strain and a Tangie strain)
  • Identifying key aesthetic traits in various cannabis products (like bud structure, color profiling, etc.)
  • Assessing tactile nuances (such as cannabis density, concentrate consistency)


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How to Prepare as a Cup or Competition Judge

Samples of cannabis product with a judge's notes for a cannabis competition(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

Competition judges are selected well in advance of an event. If you were fortunate enough to have been chosen to judge a particular category of cannabis product, or if you have purchased a judge pass in an open competition, here are a few ways you can best prepare yourself ahead of time.

Read the Rules

Before receiving your samples, familiarize yourself with the rules of the competition so that you have a full understanding of the rating process. Take notes on the competition protocol and keep them on hand when reviewing each sample so you can refer back to them as needed.


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Plan Ahead of Time

Make sure that you have a safe and sufficient space to perform your judging duties. Prepare your space with adequate ventilation. Amenities such as food and beverage should be on hand both as palate cleansers as well as for sustenance.

Build Your Tolerance

Judging a cannabis competition is much more about endurance and much less about the sprint. Consider that some competitions will have you judge dozens (sometimes over 100) samples in a time period ranging from 10 days to as little as three. This means you will be cycling though samples rapidly, so make sure you can handle the rush of cannabinoids to your system (and clear your schedule of any other responsibilities if you can).


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Take Notes While You Try Samples

In order to fairly assess a product, you’re going to want to take as many notes as possible. Oftentimes, going back and trying samples multiple times is simply not an option due to time and/or product constraints. Taking notes can help tremendously in these scenarios to shortlist top performers and select notable entrees for a final rating and review.

There are many benefits to judging a cannabis competition, such as being able to sample and review your favorite cannabis products, knowing that your opinion will factor into determining which company takes home a trophy, and receiving free merchandise to take home after the event. But remember that no matter the competition, be it an open judging process or a closed event, choosing to participate as a judge should be taken seriously at all costs. These events carry a lot of weight for the companies involved, so in order to ensure these competitions remain open to the public, having respect for the process is your responsibility as a chosen judge.

Carry this responsibility with pride; after all, you’re judging a cannabis competition! What could be better than that?

Canada Wants to Tax Medical Cannabis. Get Ready for a Fight.

The Trudeau government’s proposed cannabis tax plan has angered provincial governments—who don’t believe tax revenue should be split evenly between Ottawa and the provinces—but they’re not the only peeved parties.

Medical cannabis patients and producers feel strongly that Ottawa should not be applying an excise tax on medical cannabis — full stop. They say medical cannabis should be exempt from taxation just as most other prescription medications are.

“This proposal feels totally wrong and unfair to medical cannabis patients.”

Jonathan Zaid, Executive Director of CFAMM

 Jonathan Zaid, executive director of CFAMM

In an interview with Leafly, Jonathan Zaid, executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), noted that the majority of Canadians can’t get reimbursed for the cost of medical cannabis because insurance companies don’t cover it as standard practice—and that creates a financial burden.

“Patients are struggling to afford their medicine and this tax would just compound the problem,” he said, adding that many people who rely on medical cannabis are on disability.

“The government’s stated rationale behind this proposal is that they don’t want people feigning illness to acquire cannabis or abusing the system in any way. But that isn’t a legitimate argument for creating an extra burden on the more than 200,000 medical cannabis patients in this country.”


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The head of Toronto-based Apollo Cannabis Clinics, which provide medical cannabis prescriptions for people with chronic pain, depression, PTSD, and other conditions, says the proposed tax could contribute to a growing public health problem—the opioid crisis.

“Many of our patients are using medical cannabis as a tool to ween off opioids, or as an alternative to opioids altogether, which comes with a significant financial burden to the patient, considering most opioids are covered by insurance and medical cannabis is paid for out of pocket,”  said Bryan Hendin, founder and president of Apollo, to Leafly.

“Adding an additional tax for medical patients on top of the sales tax already charged, is not going to help patients switch to medical cannabis for their chronic pain or other conditions. In fact, it might drive patients back to using opioids entirely. With the opioid crisis in Canada, this is a step in the wrong direction.”

Taxing medical cannabis “is not in line with the taxation of medicine in Canada,” says John Fowler, CEO of Supreme Pharmaceuticals.

Many of the country’s licensed producers have also voiced objections to Ottawa’s proposal, which would add an excise tax of  $1 per gram of cannabis or 10 per cent of the final retail price, whichever is higher.

John Fowler, chief executive officer of Ontario-based Supreme Pharmaceuticals, told Leafly that Ottawa’s proposal to add roughly one dollar per gram to sales of cannabis for recreational use is “reasonable,” but believes taxing medical cannabis in the same way “is not in line with the taxation of medicine in Canada and presents a risk that certain patients may not have access to cannabis for financial reasons.”

Colette Rivet , executive director of the Cannabis Canada Association, which represents licensed cannabis producers across the country, believes medical cannabis should be exempt from excise tax and sales tax just as other prescription drugs are. She told Leafly she would like the federal and provincial governments to “ensure medical cannabis is affordable.”


Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

“We support Ottawa’s efforts to bring forth a reasonable tax structure for the sale of adult-use recreational cannabis,” added Jordan Rodness, marketing manager at Emblem Cannabis, which is also based in Ontario, “but we strongly believe that medical cannabis should be zero-rated. We support groups like CFAMM that are championing this message, and will continue to do so.”

CFAMM has already mobilized in the fight against the proposal. It created an online petition that drew more than 600 signatures in just one day. “The overwhelming response from patients speaks volumes about their concerns over the government proposal,” said Zaid.

His organization is also bringing together several stakeholders—what he describes as a “coalition of voices”—to approach the government. Ottawa is holding consultations on the proposal and has asked interested individuals and organizations to submit written comments by December 7. CFAMM also plans to reach out to individual lawmakers.

Zaid’s conviction is unwavering. “This proposal feels totally wrong and unfair to medical cannabis patients,” he told Leafly. “Canadians have a fundamental right to have access to affordable medicine.”

How to Be High in Las Vegas: Go See a Show

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in town. 

The Entertainment Capitol of the World Just Got More Entertaining

Las Vegas exists to delight and amaze.

That Las Vegas should now be home to legal recreational cannabis feels cosmically apt.

That this particular destination should now be home to legal recreational cannabis feels cosmically apt. With its density of sensory pleasures—from dazzling theatrics to ostentatious buffets to the great parade of gawkworthy humanity that is the Strip—Vegas seems the perfect playground for the cannabis-enhanced. So I got myself to Vegas, got high on legal cannabis, and ventured out to a handful of Vegas shows, starting with…

She’s giving you everything, every night, people. (Courtesy of Vegas.com)

Staged in the 7,000-seat AXIS auditorium at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Jennifer Lopez’s All I Have is the multimedia superstar’s first Las Vegas residency, and the mere fact of its existence is a testament to the rightness of her superstardom. (Complacent superstars do ad campaigns that require lounging in couture for a weekend. Ambitious superstars do Vegas residencies that require delivering the goods live onstage several times a week for months.)

J-Lo wields her stardom with the joy of a hungry newcomer.

It is my delight to report that J-Lo delivers, wielding her stardom with the joy of a hungry newcomer. Her pleasure in the sheer doing of it is contagious. A high-tech, career-spanning tour of all things J-Lo, All I Have features 23 songs, two languages, a parade of backup dancers in ever-morphing costumes, and multiple blockbuster set changes—at one point a Brooklyn subway car storms the stage, with J-Lo splayed across the bow like a glamorous Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road.

One great advantage that residencies have over tours is technical stability. Free of nightly builds and strikes, residencies can get ambitious with set and tech design in ways too intricate for touring shows. At virtually every moment of All I Have, the show offered something delightful. Perhaps the most dazzling moment came when Lopez passed singing duties to a backup dancer, stripped down to lingerie, and writhed purposefully for several minutes on a chaise lounge. (Do you know why 48-year-old zillionaires writhe semi-naked onstage? BECAUSE THEY WANT TO.)


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Lopez danced (awesomely; remember In Living Color?), sang with help from backing tracks that enabled the awesome dancing, and made all seven thousand of us feel like we were at a relatively intimate club show. My only disappointment was my own issue: During J-Lo’s time onstage, Puerto Rico was suffering through a period of deadly neglect from the U.S. government, and I longed for this daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants to rip the government a new one. But she’s such a pro the most she said about current events was, “We need more love in this world!”

Does All I Have hold any special delights for high people? Not explicitly—but God knows my ability to smile and sway through a couple dozen similar-sounding J-Lo hits was greatly enhanced by cannabis.

James Brown, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves…kind of. (Courtesy of Bally’s)

I cannot tell a lie: I bought tickets to this show because RuPaul told me to. Not directly—it was on his podcast, where he raved about the low-tech, low-glitz, raucously winning pleasures of this decade-spanning soul revue starring “America’s Greatest Soul and Motown Impersonators.”

Solid Gold Soul is a low-tech show loaded with moments that are truly thrilling.

And so I joined the small but enthusiastic crowd in Bally’s Las Vegas’s  Windows Showroom—a low-ceilinged conference room with a stage along one wall and stackable banquet chairs extending out before it. On the stage: a generation-spanning, four-person band, composed of pros who’ve toured the world with music’s biggest names, and here tonight to lend their skills to a parade pf alternately transcendent, delightful, heartwarming, and hilariously ramshackle approximation of ‘60s soul superstars.

On the marquee: James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Sam Cooke, and more. Among the cast: Pete Peterkin, an America’s Got Talent alum with a knack for channeling Ray Charles, and Grady Harrell, an actor who played brother Jackie in the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Dream and dazzles here as an effortlessly dexterous and appropriately gorgeous Jackie Wilson.


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RuPaul wasn’t lying: By Vegas standards, Solid Gold Soul is a low-tech, almost rough-hewn show. But it’s also got moments that are truly thrilling, where the goofy hindrances bounce off the amazing talent to create the most impressive spectacles.

Is it good for high folks? Ask the 14 minutes I lost to mulling the deeper meaning of being driven to cry real tears by a man performing Four Tops covers in a polyester wig.

Frederic Da Silva: Do not be skeptical of his ear piece. (Courtesy of Bally’s)

In the interest of a well-rounded sample group, I deliberately steered myself toward a show outside my natural circle of interest: Paranormal: The Mind-Reading Magic Show, performed by the family-friendly mentalist Frederic Da Silva, who took the stage of Bally’s Windows Showroom in shimmery black menswear and headset mic to spin the mind-reading magic he’s perfected over the past 25 years.

‘Paranormal’ is a testament to the power of professional showmanship.

For those open to paranormal fascination, Da Silva’s show will be a goose-pimply thrill ride. Da Silva’s not just a mind-reader and card-predictor, he’s also a feeling-transmuter, bringing a pair of audience members onstage to tickle one with a feather and causing the other to feel it.

For non-believer me, Paranormal is a testament to the power of professional showmanship, and watching Da Silva expertly manipulate the attention of the room through rhythmic speech, light mime, careful set-ups (“Here is the young man who was earlier skeptical of my ear piece!”), and a Moby-ish background soundscape was its own thrill.


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I’d also eaten part of a highly dosed cannabis candy bar, purchased off the medical menu at Reef Dispensary, and strong enough to slowly but steadily transform me over the course of the show into a very high human. This resulted in me being ferociously engaged with everything happening onstage, while living in perpetual fear of being tapped for audience participation.

I made it out unscathed, but it seems worth a warning: If you are someone for whom cannabis creates a vortex of insularity, avoid shows where your high ass might get dragged onstage in front of magic-loving families.

Beatles LOVE: one of the greatest experiences a human high can have.(Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil)

Beatles LOVE is the Cirque du Soleil production set to an all-Beatles soundtrack, staged in a custom-built showroom at the Mirage and described as “a rock ‘n’ roll poem brought to life by a cast of world-class aerialists, acrobats and dancers.”

‘LOVE’ is a nonstop pleasure machine, perfectly aligned with the sensory enhancement that comes with cannabis.

It is also one of the greatest experiences a high human can have. From the dazzling physical rigor of the circus artists to the inexhaustible pleasures of the Lennon/McCartney songbook, LOVE is a nonstop pleasure machine, and perfectly aligned with the sensory enhancement that comes with cannabis.

Set in a high-tech wonderland of Beatle-y totems (screaming Beatlemaniacs! Blue Meanies! Colonel Sousaphone!), the plot-free show is basically an excuse to watch amazing circus acts while luxuriating in Beatles melodies.


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Among the visual amazements: trombone stilts, tricycles pedaled by empty boots, a tap-dancing Jimi Hendrix, little kids in white masks and hard plastic Beatles wigs, a full-sized VW bug that breaks into pieces and is spun around on sticks, and two and half minutes of extreme rollerblading set to “Help!”

As for the show’s cannabis-friendliness: During the preshow, a vagabond clown blows smoke from (scentless) incense at audience members, ensuring them, “It’s medication!” GO HIGH OR NOT AT ALL.

5 Tips for High Folks Attending Vegas Shows

1. Aim for “Visual Spectaculars!” From high-tech diva shows to the Blue Man Group to the cornucopia of Cirque du Soleil productions, Vegas is rich in shows featuring world-class professionals working very hard to amaze you, and it is their job to succeed.

2. That said, don’t be afraid to check out a lower-marquee show. Not everyone can swing the cost of Vegas’ big-ticket shows, and there’s plenty of joy to be found in Vegas acts that don’t break the bank. See Solid Gold Soul and Paranormal above, or the many mid-price magic, comedy, and music shows that abound around Vegas.

3. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. As in quicksand and Congress, nothing travels fast in Vegas, especially humans, who are steered through complicated rotundas, block-spanning skybridges, and seemingly never-ending rush-hour traffic. What’s more, it’s all fascinating to look at, especially if you’re high, so consider showing up early enough to behold the attendant wonders of the show-hosting casinos.

4. Show up on time. The show time on the ticket is the literal start time of the show. Of the four shows I attended, only J-Lo started later than the announced time AND SHE’S J-LO.

5. Prepare to deal with drunks. Las Vegas is a liquor city, with free drinks in casinos, open drinking in the streets, and a fair amount of boozy aggression in the air. While waiting in line for shows, I witnessed three drunken flare-ups, of the “You gonna say sorry for bumping into me???” variety. Prepare your high self by practicing inner tranquility and a few drunk-calming phrases, such as “I’m so sorry! And may I say you look wonderful tonight?”

Next up: Being High in Las Vegas: Fine Dining, All-You-Can-Eat Buffets, and Other Thrill Rides…

Lead Image: Wirepec/iStock

How to Get High in Las Vegas

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in town. 

Yes, Cannabis Really Is Legal Here

We now live in a world where you can visit the singular city of Las Vegas, Nevada, with all its glamour and gambling and world-class sensory delights, and in between the buffets and thrill rides and high-tech shows by pop superstars, you can stop by a store to purchase legal, sensory enhancing cannabis.

Cannabis may only be legally purchased by those 21 and up, who must show government-issued ID.

This pinch-me reality comes with clear boundaries. Cannabis may only be legally purchased by those 21 and up, who must show government-issued ID to enter one of the city’s several dozen retail cannabis stores. Once inside, customers may purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower and 3.5 grams of cannabis concentrate, all of which is subject to a 10% retail excise tax. (Purchases by US medical patients are tax-exempt.)

Once purchased, cannabis may be legally transported in your car, but not across state lines, and it can’t be lit on fire. Smoking cannabis in a motor vehicle can result in a DUI charge, complete with jail time and a fine of up to $2000.

Tourists can buy cannabis everywhere but can smoke it almost nowhere.

So where can you smoke it? Unfortunately, Vegas doesn’t provide many options for tourists, who can buy cannabis everywhere but can smoke it almost nowhere.

At present in Las Vegas, it is only legal to imbibe cannabis in a private residence with the shades drawn. (Public consumption is banned, including consumption “exposed to public view.”) So, Vegas visitors lucky enough to know home-owning, cannabis-friendly vampires are in luck.


Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Nevada, Summer 2017

The rest of us are on our own. A good percentage of hotels forbid smoking of any sort, while casinos, which abide by federal guidelines, forbid even possession of the federally prohibited substance. The handful of Vegas cannabis stores that make deliveries all make the same stipulation: No deliveries to casinos.

Here’s a fun way to remember where you can and cannot ingest cannabis in Las Vegas: Wherever alcoholic beverages are allowed—which in Vegas means the airport, casinos, plazas, and out on the streets and sidewalks—cannabis consumption is forbidden.

Public cannabis consumption could result in a $600 ticket. Thankfully, it appears police aren’t aggressively hunting offenders.

What’s more, public consumption of cannabis in Las Vegas could result in a $600 ticket. Thankfully, it appears the city’s police aren’t aggressively hunting offenders. As attorney Carlos Blumberg told Leafly in September, his law firm has seen no rise in the ticketing of tourists since adult-use legalization began on July 1.

But none of this helps tourists in possession of legal cannabis but lacking places to legally imbibe. If it’s any consolation, Las Vegas County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak feels our pain. “I’m very sympathetic to these people because they have no place to go to,” Sisolak told Leafly in September. “They’re purchasing product they can’t use anywhere and we’ve got to address this situation.”


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For now, there are a handful of cannabis-friendly AirBNBs not far off the Strip, and the promise of adults-only cannabis lounges in the future. (Legislation to establish such venues failed this spring but will be revisited in 2019.)

5 Tips for Getting Yourself Properly High in Vegas

1. Forgive the home-team plug, but for god’s sake use the Leafly app, which will tell you the location of the nearest dispensary down to a tenth of a mile. If you’re required to travel more than an eighth of a mile, drive or be driven. Vegas is infamous for its deceptive distances, and many attempted strolls to visibly nearby landmarks have turned into death marches of sweaty friends hallucinating their way toward an ever-receding mirage. I blame the heat, and the humongous scale of the place. As Drake will croon in a 2019 chart-topper, “Vegas is the place for Lyft.”

2. Shop around. Vegas’s retail cannabis scene is a mere 18 months old—essentially a still-morphing newborn—and the differences between the retail outlets should be celebrated. Among my most highly recommended offerings: Reef Dispensaries, perched at the tip of an industrial-block-filling warehouse grow-op (and a mere block and a half from the Erotic Heritage Museum!); Las Vegas ReLeaf, tucked in a Strip-adjacent shopping center across the street from the world’s largest gift shop; Sahara Wellness (beautifully appointed and open 7 am-1 am daily!); Oasis Cannabis (also beautifully appointed and opens 24 HOURS A DAY); the casual Blum (whose waiting room boasts a half-dozen mirror balls); and Essence, which recently opened an elegant outlet in the 15-miles-south-of-Vegas desert oasis of Henderson.


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3. This isn’t directly related to being high, but is instead a general quality-of-life directive: Unless you are someone who really loves casinos, consider staying at a non-casino hotel. Casinos are crowd-packed carnivals of excitement—which may not be what you want at the bottom of the elevator first thing in the morning.

4. Medical patients: Know that you will be well taken care of in Vegas, which maintains a firm distinction between recreational and medical cannabis. Dispensaries offer menus of high-dose medical products to patients that are off-limits to recreational users. (Maureen Dowd would no longer be capable of buying the medically-dosed candy bar that sent her beyond and back.) Just be sure to bring your home-state medical card and/or documentation.

5. Leave what remains behind. Only criminal dunces attempt to smuggle their purchased Vegas pleasures home with them. Yes, throwing away cannabis may seem to invalidate everything you ever knew about yourself, but the alternative is a possible high-drama bust that will at least ruin your trip and at most complicate the rest of your life. Be smart, and leave any and all surplus Vegas cannabis behind. To quote the beloved psalm, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Next up: Being High in Vegas, which surveys the city’s cannabis-friendly entertainments.

Photo credits: Banner photo: LPETTET/iStock; supplementary photo courtesy of Reef Dispensaries

Maryland Medical Marijuana Panel Director Resigning

BALTIMORE (AP) — The executive director of Maryland’s medical marijuana commission is resigning.

The panel announced Thursday that Patrick Jameson will resign, effective Nov. 30.


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Jameson says it’s been an honor to help sick people and launch a new lucrative industry in Maryland. He says the time has come for him to pursue other interests.

The commission is beginning a search for a new executive director. Jameson will assist with a transition plan. The commission says daily operations will continue as normal.

Maryland legalized medical marijuana in 2013. Delays have prevented patients from actually receiving the drug, but that could change soon. Licensed facilities may be able to distribute the drug by the end of the year or early next year.