A Tribute to
Ice Water Sieving
Mike “Cann” Crawford
New England Legalization in
Progression or Power Grabs?
by Lauren Loiacono
Cambridge Signs Cannabis
Host Community Agreements
by Mike Crawford
TRIBUTE TO FRENCHY CANNOLI
by Mila, the Hash Queen
Ice Water Sieving
by Frenchy Cannoli
Air Vape X and Growbud
by John Labo
A Dangerous Side Effect of
Keeping Cannabis Illegal
by Jarrett Ashley
Las Vegas Biz Con
A Post Covid Renaissance
by Roland Endblazin
Cover Image & Contents Page
Photography by Sly Vegas
2017 STASH Awards
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NEW ENGLAND LEGALIZATION
Progress or Power Grabs?
by Lauren Loiacono
Photograph by Evan Sumner. NIC at #UNACCEPTABLE
In our lifetimes, we’ve watched cannabis go from
being the cash crop of the black market into a
golden fountain of state revenue.
We all knew that would happen. Remember 20
years ago, there would always be someone in the
legalization conversations ready to say, “Think
how much they could make on taxes!” And today,
we don’t have to think about it - we have the numbers.
"Where is that revenue that is supposed to be
going to communities of color?” Massachusetts’s
Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title
asked last year. “It's been four years. Myself and
community leaders and other commissioners have
worked on different proposals to do equity programming,
technical assistance, other kinds of initiatives
that would give back to these communities.
We've gone through the whole process. Legislators
have held hearings, vetted the bills, passed them
out of the relevant committee. But it looks like the
session is ending with thus far no action on those
So while craft farmers are making dramatically less
in today’s market burdened with layers of legislation
and the boom of corporate competitors, the
state departments get to double-dip on taxes to
fund programs devised by bureaucrats that
nobody voted into office.
Here’s the state-by-state breakdown of New England’s
cannabis market since funding their governments
to regulate it.
Medical legalized 2012
Rec legalized 2016
First rec stores opened November 2018
20% tax: 6.25% sales tax, a 10.75% excise tax, and local
option tax for cities and towns up to 3%
Collected $170 million in 2020
Sales tax goes to the state’s general fund, MBTA, and
School Building Authority funds, which generated $38
million from 2019 - 2020
Excise tax goes to the Marijuana Regulation Fund,
which generated $113 million from its creation in 2018
No database exists to show where the $18 million gen-
Photograph by the Maine Cannabis Coalition
erated in annual local taxes are going
In 2021, the state opened up delivery opportunities
while prioritizing tracking personal data of both suppliers
EXPANDED CONSUMER TRACKING: Effective
March 30, 2021, the Cannabis Control Commission’s
fingerprinting program now permits applicants to
be fingerprinted out-of-state. Applicants who reside
out-of- state may use IDEMIA’s IdentoGO’s Card Scan
The Commission may impose a licensing condition
that all individuals be fingerprinted prior to final
licensure. If unable to be fingerprinted prior to final
licensure, upon notification and approval by the Commission,
a condition may be imposed to extend the
requirement to have all individuals fingerprinted within
90 days of the state of emergency ending in Massachusetts.
The Commission’s review of background
checks remains ongoing; however, some elements may
be delayed contingent upon the availability of materials
and access to information.
MANDATED REPORTING : Licensee COVID-19
Standard Operating Procedures should include reports
to the Commission of any instance of an employee
work-related illness resulting in a confirmed
COVID-19 case immediately after obtaining actual
knowledge of a confirmed case, but in no event later
than twenty-four (24) hours. Licensees are to report
this information using the Agent COVID-19 Reporting
Form on the Commission website.
The Commission has learned that licensees are unclear
about the meaning of “employee work-related
illness” for purposes of reporting agents who have
tested positive for COVID-19. Licensees are advised
that the term “work-related illness” means an illness
that affects an employee or workplace, or that poses a
risk of transmission between employees or within the
workplace. The phrase “work-related illness” does not
mean “work-caused illness.” In order to protect the
public health, safety, and welfare, the Commission expects
licensees to report all cases in which a Marijuana
Establishment or Medical Marijuana Treatment Center
Agent tests positive for COVID-19.
Medical legalized 1999
Rec legalized 2016
Rec stores opened October 2020
10% marijuana excise tax, plus the statewide 5.5%
Medical sales are subject to the state’s 5.5% sales tax
and 8% for edibles
Projected to generate $50 million annually in taxes
from cannabis sales when fully operational in 2 years
12% of tax revenue goes to the Adult Use Marijuana
Public Health and Safety Fund. 88% goes to the state’s
As Maine’s recreational market expands, grassroots
growers have been busy resisting over-regulation in
CRACKING DOWN ON CAREGIVERS: Maine’s
Office of Marijuana Policy introduced 80 pages of
amendments to the state’s medical program to “catch
up with recreational regulations,” despite their campaign
claim in 2016 that recreational legalization
would not impact medical policy. The amendments
aim to cost caregivers an additional $25k a year to
install tracking software programs that monitor their
supply chain, on top of $40 for licensing fees. Without
consulting the almost 3,000 licensed caregivers in the
state, Maine signed a six-year $540K contract with
software company Metrc, LLC..
Caregivers would also have to install security camera
equipment and store more camera footage to track
operations and transactions. While caregivers are
currently required to store footage for 30 days, the new
amendments would require the storage of 45 days for
regulators to review at any time.
PUTTING LOCALS LAST: Maine Cannabis Coalition,
a group of local cannabis businesses, filed a lawsuit
against the state on May 29th following the state’s
decision to eliminate its residency requirement for
adult-use cannabis businesses. As written, state law required
applicants to have lived and paid taxes in Maine
a minimum of 4 years, which was quietly repealed by
Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy in conjunction with
the Wellness Connection, a dispensary chain which is
49% owned by a Delaware investor.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the lawsuit
argues that the department has no authority to abandon
state law since it has not been struck down by a
court or repealed by the legislature, and it seeks an
injunction prohibiting regulators from issuing adultuse
cannabis licenses to out-of-state applicants.
Medical legalized 2004
Rec legalized 2018
Cultivation licensing to open by April 2022
Retail licensing to open by September 2022
0% tax on medical marijuana with card
14% excise tax on marijuana at the point of sale + 6%
general sales tax
Aggressive taxation projected to generate between $20
- $75 million annually
Bill S.54 states that "revenue from the sales and use
tax imposed . . . on retail sales of cannabis or cannabis
products in this State shall be used to fund a grant
program to start or expand afterschool and summer
learning programs, with a focus on increasing access in
underserved areas of the State."
Vermont is catching its 2021 budget up to its 2018
LEGAL TO POSSESS, NOT TO PURCHASE: Despite
legalizing the possession and use of recreational
marijuana in 2018, Vermont has failed to provide the
means to obtain it. The roll-out will leave Vermonters
to either buy cannabis “off the books,” or to cross state
lines to do so legally for another year.
But the state is catching up to their missed revenue.
Senator Joe Benning explained, “Vermont has been
recognized for a decade now as being at the top in virtually
every category of per-capita cannabis consumption
while it has been sold in an underground market.
We need to get hold of this as much as we possibly can.
Is this the cure-all? Certainly not. This process continues.
This is not waving a magic wand in which all this
Medical legalized 2012
Rec legalized July 2021
Retail stores set to open May 2022
Personal grows (up to 12 plants per household) to be
permitted July 2023
Approved taxation dictates $6.35% sales taxes + 3% local
tax + tax based on THC content to vary by product,
equating about a 20% tax
Projected $75 million generated in direct cannabis tax
revenues by year 5
60% of revenue to go to social equity programs, 25% to
mental health funds and drug treatment, with the final
15% going to the state’s general fund for regulations,
testing, licensing, & oversight
In 2021, Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize
TROLL TOLL: Connecticut’s license lottery will cost
$1,000 to enter plus licensing fees if awarded, with
reduced fees for “social equity” applicants, which
will receive half of the licenses. Licensure for medical
businesses to enter the recreational market will cost
between $1-3 million.
Medical legalized 2006
Rec legalized June 2021
Rec stores to open April 2022
Cultivation applications to open in 2023
Consumers to pay a 20% tax on products, including
7% sales tax, 3% municipal tax, and 10% new tax
Tax total will also include an estimated 3% wholesale
tax and a “weight-based excise tax on marijuana cultivation,”
according to the current governor
Projected to collect $1.7 million in tax revenue in 2022,
increasing to $16.9 million in 2023
Collected taxes to go to state’s general fund with licensing
fees going to a “cannabis equity fund” to provide
“grants and technical assistance to applicants from
disproportionately impacted areas”
Rhode Island becomes the 20th state to legalize marijuana,
while managing legalization between 2 governors
Photograph by the Marijuana Policy Project (NH)
South Shore CBD
HappinesS Is Sun grown
Open 7 Days
Medical: 9:00AM - 7:00PM
Rec: 9:00AM - 9:00PM
OPEN DAILY FOR
Please Consume Responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgment.
Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and
breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT
AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and
judgment. The impairment effects of edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222
or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.
FOR THE PEOPLE?: When Rhode Island Governor Raimando
left her position to become commerce secretary for
the Biden administration, her state-run budget for cannabis
was set in place, but not enacted by lawmakers.
Her predecessor Governor Lt. McKee has instead opted for
a private model that will license by lottery for entrepreneurs
and growers (with a “social equity” quota) - rather than the
original plan which sought to control cannabis like New
Hampshire does liquor stores.
While claiming to support entrepreneurial success over the
state’s, Rhode Islanders criticize the $500K annual licensing
fee for dispensaries as well as the $5K application fees as
having the opposite intended effect.
Medical legalized 2013
NH House approved rec legalization bill in 2014, which
died in the Senate
Medical dispensaries opened in 2016
Rec decriminalized 2017
The last state in New England left to legalize recreationally,
New Hampshire has spent 2021 tossing bill proposals like
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: Officially surrounded by the cannabis
capitals of the east coast, New Hampshire is the last of New
England that has yet to “legalize it.” Multiple bills entered
the NH House of Representatives that have been “tabled”
for vote until 2022, including HB 237 which would legalize,
regulate, and tax recreational cannabis for adults 21 and
older, and HB 629 which would simply legalize possession
and home cultivation. The bipartisan-sponsored home
cultivation bill HB 350 was unanimously approved by the
House Committee in February, but also tabled by the Senate
In August, Governor Sununu approved HB 605 to grow the
state’s medical program, including opioid use disorder as a
qualifying condition for medical care. The bill also allows
out-of-state patients to access NH dispensaries. In 2017,
Sununu approved 2 separate house bills that added PTSD
and chronic pain to the list in the very gradual medical
While polling shows 75% of New Hampshire residents
support legalization, New Hampshire is in a unique position
to legalize cannabis for the people rather than its politicians.
The home cultivation bills that the Senate keeps ignoring
would grant users and growers with minimal oversight,
regulation, and taxation.
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Cambridge Signs Cannabis
Host Community Agreements
with seven economic empowerment applicants, Marblehead Police hire more white men, Boston
media fails again on MPAA coverage
by Mike "Cann" Crawford
Chauncy Spencer of Sanofa signed HCA with city of Cambridge
First up, kicking off with the city of Cambridge who recently signed seven cannabis host community agreements
and extended exclusivity for new economic empowerment recreational applicants for another year. Some quotes
from our interview with Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan.
Next, we’ll take a look at the Marblehead Police Department, under a cloud of scandal, lacking gender and racial
diversity, and the local Marblehead newspaper editorial that swallowed a lot of boot to pretend that women aren’t
a majority of residents in the town.
Also in this one: WBUR Radio carries water for the Mass Patients group reps that routinely sell out patients for
dispensary and doctor office sponsorships. To close, commentary on a lawsuit filed against the state of California
over the excessive state cannabis tax.
The City of Cambridge has extended a cannabis economic
empowerment licensing priority, a moratorium
against existing medical dispensaries from opening
immediately for recreational sales, giving new economic
empowerment applicants exclusivity for a final
Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan speaking
to us on our live-streaming show and podcast, The
“The good news is that we did hear that seven (economic
empowerment) applicants in Cambridge have
signed host community agreements with the city.”
Zondervan also offered advice to the Cambridge-based,
medical dispensary chain, Revolutionary
Clinics, the organization that strongly opposed the
moratorium with losing court filings and astroturf
“There’s plenty of opportunities to participate. They
(Revolutionary Clinics) are part of our (Cambridge)
law too, our law says once this moratorium expires
they are allowed to operate, I hope they will embrace
that, embrace the equity and the justice that we’re
trying to do, and really become partners instead of
Listen/watch the Zondervan interview with The Young
Jurks on Itunes, Spotify, or youtube
Marblehead Police Department addresses the
lack of diversity by hiring two more white men.
MPD has a gender and racial problem, their force is almost
exclusively white male, and the two newest hires
are naturally white males with institutional family ties,
one of them being the former police chief ’s son, so we
were a bit perplexed by a Marblehead Reporter editorial,
“Diversity should be fostered’ which sounds good
if you only read the title but then closed with, “Maybe
take a break from demanding diversity” and a bunch of
other silliness throughout.
In a town that is 54% women, the Marblehead Reporter
should maybe listen to some women.
It’s good for business, perhaps they want to sell some
We found two informed Marblehead women.
Referencing the civil service list which did include
high ranking female candidates, the list that Marblehead
PD hires from and which has often been cited as
the problem, Laurie Barham, a Marblehead resident
points out, “Note that the female veteran resident who
is 4th (on the civil service list) is ranked significantly
higher than the former police chief ’s son who was
ranked 9th and is not a veteran.”
Marblehead attorney Anne Stevenson points out the
numbers and recent scandals of concern, “The MPD’s
officers are all indeed white men (31 including the 2
white men rubber-stamped in this week by the Board
of Selectmen) and one woman. My concern here is that
by omitting significant recent scandals and lawsuits
against the town which originate in MPD, the editors
of the Marblehead Reporter are glossing over the harm
MPD discriminatory policies are having on this town.
For instance, Officer Chris Gallo has been placed on
leave at least 4 times-most recently after a female victim
of a violent crime alleged that Gallo assaulted her
and called her a “poor bitch.” And let’s not forget the
Swastika incident where nine officers failed to report
that Officer Tufts scratched a swastika into Officer Dimare’s
car, a scandal which in turn Officer Gallo used
as cover and a decoy to save his job. Then the hiring of
the Winthrop Police Chief had just lost a sex discrimination
lawsuit to the tune of $2.3 million. If the editors
of the Marblehead Reporter have confused a long
tradition of MPD perpetuating discrimination against
women and BIPOC with the “glory days” of the MPD,
we are all in deep shit. Discrimination against women
based on sex isn’t just morally corrupt, it poses a real
threat to public safety because at least half the people
who live in this town are women. But of course, this is
Marblehead where nearly every woman can probably
tell you a story about a time when they experienced
discrimination against them based on sex, but almost
no man can identify another sexist man.”
Stevenson asks, “What is MPD doing to recruit, hire
and promote a more diverse pool of candidates?
Nothing. What are the consequences? There are none.
They rig the game against women and BIPOC through
various restrictive and neglectful rules and laws to the
extent that women and BIPOC don’t even apply for
MPD jobs here-and then pat themselves on the back
with these incestuous new hires (who are all white
Stevenson closes with criticism for the newspaper
editorial, ”We have union lawsuits pending against the
town now alleging grossly incompetent labor practices,
and the editors of the Reporter respond with a cowardly
faceless editorial claiming “nothing to see here
folks…keep it moving.”
Speaking of media fluff jobs, WBUR with a
nauseating “Joint Dreams: How an unlikely
friendship reshaped medical marijuana laws
in Massachusetts” on “activists” Jeremiah
MacKinnon and Frank Shaw, two of the most
vocal supporters of the Massachusetts Patient
Advocacy Alliance, the org best known for
selling-out patients to their sponsors which are
dispensary and medical doctors offices.
Last year, Shaw testified at the State House against
a veterans bill that would expand disabled veterans
access to medical cannabis. A patient advocate against
expanding medical access to disabled vets? Yes. Why?
Follow the money. Joining him in that testimony was
an MPAA sponsor who would most definitely lose
business at the medical cannabis recommendation
company that they own. Shaw, his group, the medical
doctor, do not disclose their conflicts when testifying.
April 2017, I reported The MPAA dry-snitching on
caregivers and traditional delivery services to the
Globe and the DPH which effectively decreased patient
access. See a pattern here yet? While the MPAA
collected money from legal dispensaries and medical
cannabis doctor offices.
In July 2019, Dan Adams, Boston Globe reported,
the same MPAA patient advocates had rented themselves
out to big cannabis in Cambridge, “To prove
the point, the dispensaries and, um, “allied” advocacy
groups bused in dozens of supporters wearing shirts
with the word “PATIENT” emblazoned on the front to
Thursday’s hearing on the dueling proposals. One after
another, they testified that the two-year delay would be
unfair to the dispensaries and made them fear losing
access to needed medicine. Some appeared to be dispensary
workers, or said they were “affiliated” with the
dispensaries.” Just this month, Revolutionary Clinics
the big cannabis dispensary in Cambridge disclosed
that they donate $1000 a month to the MPAA. That
answers our long-running question. How much does it
cost to rent the patients group? $1000 a month is all it
Maybe the patients should start up a collection hat to
get their patient group to actually represent the patients?
One can dream.
We can also dream that MPAA and their lackeys will
ever face a tough question from the big Boston media
about their lucrative, intentional conflicts of interest.
Changed the law for who to benefit? For their sponsors.
Report that story WBUR. We dare you.
And finally this week, there’s the eye-opening, LA
Weekly’s “Catalyst takes California to court over cannabis
tax rates” which smells familiar in Massachusetts,
excessive State taxation of legal cannabis propping up
the unregulated market.
Elliot Lewis, CEO of Catalyst Cannabis Co. as reported
by LA Weekly, “I want to be clear – our goal is to outline
a problem that the state has created by failing to
work with the cannabis industry on fair taxes, The cannabis
industry has the biggest potential for job growth
and good-paying jobs with tons of upward mobility
since the tech boom.”
Unfortunately, in both states, it’s being held down
by exorbitant taxation and over-regulation, both for
smaller industry players, just to keep the lights on, and
for consumers who are often economically pushed to
gamble on dangerous synthetic products and various
knock-off products from the street.
What’s different from California to Massachusetts is
that some shady Golden State operators have found a
way to pay for a license and taxes while diverting/selling
their product to the non-legal market. As far as we
know that hasn’t happened in Massachusetts yet.
Perhaps the most interesting part is that the state of
California has an economic incentive not to turn off
this illegal re-distribution, because their tax cut is
Which begs the big question, why not just reduce cannabis
taxes and start to take on the much larger market?
That would make too much sense and bring into
too much tax revenue. Is anybody in government ever
going to count the stacks they are giving up?
It’s not just a
glass, metal, ceramic
& surface cleaner.
The Science of Ultimate Clean
A Tribute to
A Letter from Mila, the Hash Queen:
I met Frenchy at a dinner, I think it was
We had heard about each other but had never
sat and talked like during that dinner and
we just talked and talked and talked.
I had arrived overland in India in '68 and I
believe Frenchy arrived in '80.
We had both gone to the Himalayas and
would remind each other of villages, Chaishops,
temples, valleys and mountain passes
we'd both crossed and the great hash we
found everywhere. And our love for places
like ManiKaran and Malana.
We had even been at the same New Years
Eve party in Goa, we figured it was in '83,
me a mother of four then and he a young
man, so we didn't really meet, plus he spoke
French and hung out with the French crowd
and I didn't. I even lived on a different beach.
But all these shared memories created a
strong bond, and we had both visited and
loved so many of the same places.
I looked at him at some point and asked
him, "Frenchy, could you ever, ever have
imagined in those years we were bumming
around India that one day you'd become a
We both looked at each other and totally
cracked up laughing, laughing at this crazy
unpredictable thing called life.
Mila sends her love!
Mila, the Hash Queen & Frenchy,
Boston Freedom Rally
Photograph by Sly Vegas
Ice Water Sieving
by Frenchy Cannoli
Hashish is a psychoactive drug made from sieving
the resin glands from the dried and cured
Cannabis flowers, which is then pressed into a
resin mass using a source of heat.
Traditional Hashish producing methods protect
the wholeness of the trichomes, which house the
full psychoactive and medicinal potential of the
plant. Hashish is not only the repository of the
wholeness of the plant but this ancient methodology
creates over fifty new and rare compounds
during the transformation that can be traced to
the live and dried plant. Producing traditional
Hashish is like making wine, collecting the ripest
fruit is only the first step of a transformation
A Hashishin is a craftsperson, and as such needs
to have a deep knowledge of all aspects of the
substance they work with. Learning the science
behind the formation and development of the
terpenes and cannabinoids inside the trichomes
will help to master the craft but more importantly
leads to appreciation of the magic of this unique
gift from Mother Nature. The resin we collect is
the bibliography of the plant’s life, the Book of the
A craftsperson’s mastery of their art is also determined
by the tools they use, in our case we use
a sieve, which is “a device with meshes or perforations
through which finer particles of a mixture
(as of ashes, flour, or sand) of various sizes
may be passed to separate them from coarser
ones…”. The definition of the word clearly implies
that the sieve has to be absolutely clean at
all times, the process of separation simply cannot
happen when the perforations that form the sieve
are blocked. Less obvious, but as important,
is the ratio of raw material to sieving surface.
Working with a small quantity of material on a
large sieving surface is much more efficient than
working with a huge pile of material on a limited
Hashishins the world over hunt the “melt” which
is expressed by the amount of resin formed in the
resin heads. We seek perfect ripeness and maturity,
as well as purity, meaning the cleanliness of
the trichomes collected.
In producing countries, the quality of dry-sieved
resin is largely determined by purity, contaminants
are unavoidable when working with dry
and brittle material; the more force applied to the
handling of the material the more impurities will
be created. Trichomes have a tendency to fall
easily, little agitation is initially necessary to break
the resin heads from their stalks but the process
needs to be repeated a few times, with more
force applied with each subsequent agitation in
order to collect the majority of trichomes from the
plant matter. Quality, in producing countries, is
mostly dictated by purity and not maturity.
Dry sieving is made up of two inseparable processes;
the agitation of the material and the separation
of the falling matter through the meshes
of the sieve. The incorporation of water into this
equation is a game changer.
By using water we have the ability to rehydrate
brittle material beforehand and work with plant
matter that has fully regained its suppleness. The
obvious benefit is to limit contamination of the
resin by broken leaf matter but more importantly,
the sieving process becomes two separate steps
- 1. Agitation in the machine and 2. Separation
(sieving) in the bags.
Water gives us the ability to agitate and separate
optimally without contaminating the purity of the
resin. We can now focus on the most important
aspect of resin quality, seeking the ultimate ripeness
of the resin heads, the perfect melt.
The following sieving bags sizes, measured in
microns, are available on the market; 220, 190,
160, 120, 90, 73, 45, 25. Each bag size represents
a slice of the plant’s cannabinoid and
Frenchy & TDOG, Boston Freedom Rally
Photograph by Sly Vegas
The vast majority of modern Hashishins hunt the melt by the size of the trichomes; the smaller resin
heads range in the 25-micron size while the largest can be from 220 micron up to 500 micron. It is impossible
to separate adequately resin and contaminants in the 25-micron and the 160-micron bags because
trichomes and impurities are similar in size and cannot be separated by sieving.
The industry recognizes the optimal size of mature trichomes in a range from 45 microns to 120 microns,
73 microns to 90 microns offering the best results. It is important to note that the ideal size of trichome
development is dependent on the plant’s genetics as well. Generally speaking, a Sativa dominant strain
will have smaller resin heads than an Indica dominant, which makes the evaluation of optimal melt by
tricomes size problematic.
I would not trade the wholeness of what I call “full spectrum” Hashish (sieved together using 45 to 160
micron bags) for a concentrate that represents just a single slice of the spectrum, however “full melt” the
resulting resin may be. The melt is an important element when evaluating quality but there is more than
just the visual pleasure when experiencing cannabis resin. It is after all a gustatory experience and should
be approached as such.
Before studying the science behind the process, I did not separate my collected resin by trichome size,
and I also did not separate my washes either since the purity of the resin is not a concern when working
with rehydrated material.
Fact, a resin heads fall at the lightest touch. “A resin head is made by nature like a fruit or a leaf, and as
such falls at the end of its life cycle; an abscission zone develops at the base of the head where the stripe
Photograph by Sly Vegas
cells attach to the disc cells resulting in abscission
of glands upon attaining maturity”
This simple piece of evidence was a revelation and
the key to my understanding of the dimensions of
Judging the ripeness of fruits on a tree by their color
before harvesting is difficult to do with accuracy but
collecting every separate dimensions of ripeness the
tree has to offer is actually quite simple. A first light
shake of the tree will bring down the ripest fruits; a
second shake a little harder will bring fruits that are
slightly less ripe and so on until the tree is bare.
And so it is with a cannabis plant. I wash one batch
of material on an average of eight to twelve times.
I agitate my material within a vortex of water that
applies a constant force, and so the strength of my
“shaking the tree” is defined in fact by the length of
my wash cycle. My first wash is hardly longer than
half a minute. The following washes are a minute
or two longer than the precedent and as such each
wash shakes a different level or dimension of ripeness
from the leaf matter, from the ripest to the less
mature resin heads.
My ice water sieving technique is a simple adaptation
of traditional dry sieving methodology and a
basic optimization of the tools.
Mini-washers are available on Amazon and E-Bay
for $70 to $90. Do not buy a model with a pump.
You want the most basic version using gravity to
empty the machine.
These machines are not designed for cannabis resin
collection. This is most apparent in the structure of
the exhaust hose, which is made of groves that collect
resin and contaminants. This can be easily fixed
by opening the bottom of the washer and replacing
the accordion hosing with a 3/4-inch diameter
vinyl waterline and two elbows, one with a
stopper. Cut one 2” piece of hosing and a second
piece 10” to 12” long. Connect them to the elbow
pieces. Use metal clamps to secure in place.
There is also a plastic cover over the exhaust
point, which has to be taken off completely, or depending
on the washer model, the orifices have
to be cut larger so that the flow of the water is not
hampered when emptying the machine.
The vortex created by these mini washing machines
is simply the most effective agitation tool
available. It is powerful but gentle and not only
“shakes” forcefully the material but the water current
created literally strokes the resin heads from
their stalks, optimizing the process to new level.
The loose trim, nugs, or flowers are sucked
down to the bottom of the machine and into the
eye of the vortex, which spins the material in an
ever-widening circle toward the surface where
the material is then pushed towards the sides of
the machine and sucked down to the bottom for
For many concentrate manufacturers the standard
practice is to put the dry leaf material into
the 220-micron workbag that is zipped shut and
put into the washer. When the workbag is put
directly into the washer the agitation and sieving
process are combined, forsaking the advantage
of splitting the two processes. Loosing such an
advantage is illogical but using a 220-micron
workbag also goes against all the basic principles
of sieving. It is challenging to use a workbag
without having the material bundling at the bottom;
the matter is furthermore made worse by the
vortex of water constantly twisting the bag into a
tighter bundle, creating less than optimum sieving
conditions. It is also challenging to clean the
meshes of the workbag while processing, which
is possibly the biggest handicap of using a workbag
especially when working with live resin.
The inadequate agitation process combined with
the use of a sieve with plugged mesh holes will
affect the resin yield; a loss of resin is inevitable.
The only advantage is the protection the workbag
offers from the grinding power of the ice used in
I had custom-made full-mesh bags to optimize
the most important principle of sieving - the more
sieving surface available the more effective the
separation process will be.
The full-mesh Boldtbags are lighter, stay cleaner,
and are designed to facilitate water flow, maximize
resin separation and collection. They are
made from scientifically engineered material so
that the integrity of the size of the perforations is
maintained over time.
I pull my bags over separate food-grade 5 gallon
plastic buckets that have had the bottoms cut off
at different heights to allow a 2” to 3” separation
between each bag when hanging on the buckets.
These buckets become a frame that holds the
bags perfectly. The bottom of the bags do not
touch each other which allows the water to flow
easily from one bag to the next in order to optimize
the sieving done by gravity and the weight
of the water.
I generally use three bags stacked together:
the 190, which is my catch bag, the 160, which
harvests the ripest and larger resin heads (but
harder to clean to perfection). The third bag is my
main collecting bag, the 45-micron.
I use also the 25-micron bag, but separately.
All the water used in the processing is filtered
through it. Nothing is lost this way, even the
smaller and most unripe resin heads.
The Pressure rinse
I use the “Flat” setting of a garden sprayer to
forcefully move the resin material around the bag,
very much like you would card dry-sieved resin
over a screen. The gentle power of the spray
agitates the resin over the screen and separates
the heads in a unique way that offers the most
efficient separation process I have ever experienced.
A Hashishin does not make quality; it is a gift that
only a grower can offer.
The more knowledgeable one is about the material
being worked with the better the process can
be fine-tuned as defined by the specific characteristics
of the plant matter, trim, nugs, flowers
and genetics being used.
Please note: we are not judging quality but material
physiognomy (outward appearance) in order
to optimize our process.
A flower for instance will take longer to rehydrate
than sugar trims, an Indica dominant hybrid like
Girl Scout Cookies can be agitated more forcefully
than a Haze without being damaged and a live
plant will require a colder working environment.
I work solely with live plants or dried material that
has been cured a minimum of three months, the
oldest material I have run was two years “old”
and the resulting resin was remarkable.
Live resin, at the peak of the plant’s flowering
cycle, has a terpenes profile made up of 120 plus
terpenes, many in minute quantities but all important
to the overall psychoactive and medicinal
properties of the resin. Live resin is very much
like Himalayan Charas; the experience is clean,
cerebral, vibrant and energizing.
I never freeze fresh material because plant matter
is made of 90% of water contained between
the cell walls. When water freezes there is an
approximate 9% expansion of the water mass,
small ice crystals are formed in the plant tissues
and damage the cell walls, which will release a
lot of chlorophyll upon defrosting. The membrane
holding the resin volatile compounds will most
certainly be weakened as well by freezing, which
is a threat to the protection of the terpenes and
the final overall quality.
Every Hashishin of every producing country with
the exception of Afghanistan (In Afghanistan the
resin is collected when the plants are dried and is
kept for months in an enclosed and airtight container,
traditionally a goat’s skin.) cures the resin
on the plant three to nine months, fresh resin is
never smoked as far as historic and traditional
Cannabis connoisseurs unanimously prefer their
flowers cured and not just dried. High quality
flowers and resin needs to be cured slowly, over
a period of at least 3 months to reach its full potential.
There is a major loss of terpenes during the drying
and curing period of the flowers that is inevitable;
approximately 80% of the terpenes present in
the live plant evaporate. However, the remaining
major terpenes are transformed through a polymerization
process, which ultimately changes the
terpene profile, apparent in the olfactory difference
between a fresh flower and a cured flower.
A perfectly cured flower and resin represent the
second peak of quality offered by the plant.
Dry and cured resin is very much like traditional
Hashish; the experience is relaxing, comforting,
warm and soothing.
Water is the perfect medium for sieving, while being
classified as a solvent it does not act as such
with trichomes; beyond rehydration and optimal
agitation, water is also an effective containment
medium for a product that is hard to handle when
dry. However, water too often contains sediments
and many chemicals that are not only dangerous
to consume but that could potentially weaken the
structure of the resin gland membranes.
A water filtering system is mandatory. Reverse
Osmosis (RO) systems are recommended but not
mandatory. Remember, the purity of the collected
resin is dependent to a degree on the purity of
the water source.
I classify ice with water because it is part of the
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medium that agitates and receives the trichomes,
and for that reason the ice cubes should be made
with pure water only. Ice is actually your nemesis.
It is the only variable that has the potential to
crush and damage rehydrated material. Roundish
ice cubes are recommended for that reason. It is
important to understand that ice is only necessary
to create a cold environment that will facilitate the
handling of a product that is sticky by nature. Ice
is not a tool to break the resin heads from their
stalks. The courant of the water will do that.
The ratio of water, ice, leaf material and the
length of the wash cycle are the deciding factors
of the agitation process.
o Water is the receptacle and the
power that detaches the resin heads from their
stalks. As a principle, the more water and the less
material and ice there is, the more powerful and
effective the courant of the water vortex will be.
o Ice gives the ability to work in a cold
environment but it has to be used sparingly. Too
much ice will grind the leaf matter and hamper
the flow of the vortex.
o The material requires space for
agitation, the more space the more effective the
process, the less material the more powerful the
water courant. Simply put LESS IS MORE. I recommend
working with approximately 300 grams
at a time, less when doing live resin.
o The length of the cycle represent
the power behind “shaking the tree” to collect the
different dimensions of ripeness. The first cycle is
hardly half a minute long, it is the first light shake
that will detach the ripest trichomes.
The Ice Sandwich:
Complete rehydration of the plant material is
required at the beginning of the process to avoid
leaf matter breakage and contamination. I initially
make an ice “sandwich” to create a cold working
environment, and to keep all my material submerged
underwater to absorb the water evenly. I
place a little ice first to avoid resin sticking to the
bottom of the machine and jamming the turning
plate. It is not pleasant to have to release the
plate manually, in ice water, even with a gloved
The top layer of ice keeps the trim submerged.
However, this requires a disproportionate amount
of ice, for that reason the first cycle of the machine
will constantly have the potential to grind
the material and create contaminants.
Different materials will rehydrate at a different
rates. The time necessary will be defined by the
specific characteristics of the plant matter, trim,
nugs, flowers and genetics. The rehydration process
takes approximately ten to twenty minutes;
the best way to assess complete rehydration is
by manually checking the suppleness of the material.
When the material is sufficiently hydrated it
will bend like a live leaf without any breakage or
The First Wash:
The ratio of water, to ice and material is disproportionate
during the first run. The excess ice will
grind the leaf. To avoid this challenge a very short
cycle is required which essentially fits into our
approach of collecting the different dimensions of
ripeness - only a small shake is necessary for the
ripest fruits to fall.
I stop my first cycle after only a few seconds, as
soon as the upper layer of ice cubes is sucked
into the vortex with the material. The sound of the
ice is the best guide. The grinding sound is unmistakable,
a deep and unpleasant “grrrrr” noise
that indicates, “Stop the cycle!” as soon as you
The stacked buckets holding my sieving bags are
supported by a metal grille placed over a large
plastic storage container that allows gravity and
water to flow freely through the bags and into the
storage container, offering the first natural separation
in the sieving process.
The color of the water varies from fluorescent
green to a dark shade of red and purple depending
on the coloration of the plant. The water
should be cloudy with resin heads but not muddy
green from grinded leaf matter.
Rinse lightly the 190 bag with the sprayer set on
There is often a lot of leaf matter in the bag which
happens most frequently with small leaf material
(sugar trims) and is due to the need to maximize
the exhaust flow; simply put the collected
leaf matter back into the machine and clean the
bag thoroughly with alcohol if there is any stickiness.
The cleanliness of the meshes defines the
amount of trichomes that can pass through the
sieve into the collection bags.
Put the bucket frame holding the 190-micron bag
on a clean surface. If dirt or other contaminants
stick to the bottom of the bag it will end up later in
the 160-micron bag that is stacked under it.
Rinse thoroughly the 160-micron bag by moving
the resin around as widely as possible across
your sieving surface to maximize the separation.
It is important to avoid cleaning the resin of the
160-micron bag over the 45-micron bag to prevent
I do not collect the resin from the 160-micron at
every wash for the simple reason that there is
often little enough of it. I simply rinse and clean
the 160-micron at every wash until the last.
Otherwise, l collect the resin from the 160-micron
solely if there is simply too much of it, and it
hampers the flow of water and by doing so captures
too much of the smaller micron resin heads
in its mass. The amount of resin collecting in the
160-micron is a good, if imperfect, indicator of
quality. Large size resin heads usually indicate
Put the bucket holding the bag on a clean surface
and top it with bucket holding the catch bag so
that any flying contaminants will not land in the
The 45-micron bag is obviously the most important.
The first wash will not be the cleanest or offer
the most return, as we have hardly shaken the
material/tree, and at this stage are collecting only
the ripest trichomes, which will have the darkest
Rinse thoroughly the resin, moving it across the
sieving surface pointing the spray under the mass
of resin. When powerfully rinsing the 45-micron
bag, foam will form over the resin. The bubbles
hold all the contaminants and can easily be
pushed through the sieving surface of the bag.
Rinse until the color of the foam is exactly the
same color than the resin and gently push the
resin toward the middle of the bag in as small a
puddle as possible to facilitate collecting.
Gathering the Sieved Resin
Drying is the most difficult and delicate part of
the ice water sieving process. It has to be perfectly
executed so that there is a minimum loss
of terpenes and no humidity left that could later
degrade the resin stability and quality.
Drying in a Room
Room Requirements: Separate room with stable
humidity level of 35%, a temperature of 55°F, air
ventilation, shelving, small fridge.
Tools: Frisbee, dull knife, Pyrex dish, 25-micron
pad, metal sieve, metal spoon, parchment paper.
• Squeeze most of water out of the
sieving bag with your hands before placing the
bag between two clean towels to gently remove
as much of the remaining excess water as possible.
• Stretch the bag carefully across a
Frisbee and over a large Pyrex dish. There are
• Scrape the resin with a very dull
knife from the 45-micron bag onto a 25-micron
sieve pad laying flat in the Pyrex dish.
• Step into your drying room with the
Pyrex dish holding the collected resin; take the
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spoon and the metal sieve from the fridge where
they had been placed previously to chill.
• Place the resin in the metal sieve
and use the metal spoon to push the resin
through the perforations over the parchment
paper. It is necessary to keep moving slowly and
steadily over the surface of the paper in order to
spread the resin evenly and as widely and thinly
as possible over the surface of the drying rack.
It is not recommended to try separating the resin
further by hand. After a night of drying, the resin
will be easier to manipulate and spread more
thinly and evenly.
• The fineness of the resin spread
over the parchment paper and the characteristics
of the resin will define the duration of the drying,
which can range from 3 to 15 days.
• The overall production is defined
by the ability to dry, in this case by the size of the
Drying with a Freeze Dryer:
A freeze drier or vacuum oven can guarantee a
perfect drying process in approximately 48 hours.
The drying process does not limit the overall
production any longer. Since someone will ask, I
currently use a Harvest Right freeze drier.
However, we need to do comparative testing in
order to choose the drying technique best suited
to protecting terpene quality.
Since someone will also ask, I have not yet had
the opportunity to test a vacuum oven.
The Second Wash:
The excess ice from the first wash will melt to
a large degree by the time you have filled the
machine with water for the second wash; the
water ratio, ice and trim will not yet be perfect but
the grinding power of the ice will be greatly diminished.
The sound of the ice will be your guide
again; the sound should be more musical but still
a little menacing. The second wash should be
approximately 2 minutes.
The color of the water will be slightly lighter, the
water should be cloudy with resin heads but not
muddy green from grinded leaf matter.
Follow the step described in the First Wash for
cleaning and collecting the resin of the different
Gathering the sieved resin to dry will be similar
every time, please note than separating washes
on the drying rack is important, every one is a
different dimension of ripeness, unique in itself.
The Third Wash:
The machine will have almost no ice left by the
third wash. It is recommended to add ice before
filling the machine with water for a 3rd time so
that little ice remains once the machine is full.
The sound of the ice will be a gentle clinking
against the wall of the machine by now. As long
as there are a few ice cubes floating, the water is
ice cold, from that point forward add only a handful
of ice cubes at a time.
The third wash should be approximately 3 to 4
Follow the step described in the First Wash for
cleaning and collecting the resin of the different
Gathering the sieved resin to dry will be the same
process each time.
The Fourth to the Last Wash:
Add the ice before filling the machine so that little
ice remains once the machine is filled as was
Every wash should be longer than the precedent
by a minute or two.
Follow the steps described in the first wash for
cleaning and collecting the resin of the different
Gathering the sieved resin to dry will be similar
every time. Separate washes on the drying rack.
Collect the resin from the 160-micron bag on the
Empty the machine by hand, take the moving
parts off and rinse with water.
Clean thoroughly all your bags and tools using
Run the machine through a short cycle using a
mixture of water and ISO alcohol to sanitize.
Recycle the used trim to be used as compost in a
From Afghanistan to Morocco, local Hashish
smokers actively press resin glands before
smoking. The various pressing technique applied
around the world are all focused on enhancing,
as much as preserving, potency.
There is more to pressing resin glands than mere
transportation, convenience or product marketing.
It is a complex operation that deeply changes the
very nature of the resin glands, their psychoactive
and medicinal properties; an art form with thousands
of years of evolution behind it.
The various pressing techniques, always involve
a source of heat.
Scientific studies show that application of heat
converts THCA into THC. This is important because
decarboxylation releases CO2 allowing
the medicine to pass through the lungs blood gas
barrier. Decarboxylation occurs naturally with
time and temperature, and is a function of drying,
but we can shorten the process by adding more
The more heat, the faster decarboxylation occurs,
within reasonable ranges.
There is another mechanism at play however,
which indicates that we need to control the decarboxylation
temperatures carefully. When we
heat cannabis to convert the THCA and CBDA
into THC and CBD respectively, we are also
converting THC into CBN. “At about 70% decarboxylation,
we start converting THC into CBN at
a faster rate than we are converting THCA into
THC, after about 70% decarboxylation, the levels
of THC actually start to fall sharply. That of
course means that the CBN also begins to rise
and the medication is becoming more sedative”.
The transformation of loose resin glands into
a resinous form brings out the fragrance of the
flowers when breaking the membranes surrounding
the resin heads and “locks” the fragrance
and flavors into the Hashish. The terpenes are
“bound”, for a better term, in the mass with the
cannabinoids through the pressing process.
Jean-Jaques Filippi, Marie Marchini, Céline Charvoz,
Laurence Dujourdy and Nicolas Baldovini in
their research “Multidimensional analysis of cannabis
volatile constituents: Identification of 5,5-dimethyl-1-vinylbicyclo[2.1.1]hexane
as a volatile
marker of hashish, the resin of Cannabis sativa
L.“) determined that traditional hashish production
creates over fifty rare monoterpenes that can be
traced to the live and dried plant.
The resinous mass is “corrosive”, meaning that
it will gradually absorb the resin gland’s membranes
and most microscopic vegetal matter
within the first few weeks after being pressed,
resulting in a cleaner Hashish with a richer, more
complex nose and a higher quality melt.
The decarboxylation process of Cannabis resin
used for edibles, tinctures and capsules in the
U.S. can be applied to Hashish, the temperature
generally range from 180° to 240°F (82.2°C to
115.5°C) for 30 minutes to an hour.
Temperature being such an important factor of
quality, I wanted a pressing tool with some type
of heating technology that would mimic traditional
hand pressing. I settled on simplicity by using
boiling water in a transparent glass container to
harness a source of heat in the 180°F to 220°F
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range that would give me an adequate control of
the decarboxylation process while mirroring as
closely as possible the traditional hand-pressing
Pressing Frenchy Style
Room Requirements: similar to the drying room
with stable humidity level of 35%, a temperature
of 55°F, air ventilation, shelving.
Tools: Solid wooden table, an electric teakettle, a
transparent wine bottle with all labeling removed,
2 insulated potholders, oven bags (some times
referred to as turkey bags), and nitrile exam
Cut a turkey bag in four equal pieces.
Place the room dried loose trichomes or a freezedried
resin patty in the turkey bag and constrain
the pressing to a limited area by folding loosely
the bag like an envelope.
Apply the bottle to the resin inside the turkey bag.
High quality resin will start melting as soon as the
bottle makes contact; slowly stretch out the resin
like you would a piecrust. The amount of pressure
necessary is also a good indicator of quality;
the less pressure required the higher the quality.
Flip the bag over to change sides and continue to
spread the resin like a piecrust slightly wider.
Flip the bag again and press the resin still wider.
After a few pressings on each side, the resin will
fuse partially in a mass showing the lighter sandy
texture of un-pressed resin heads and often
different shades of color from light to darker amber,
especially when multiple washes are mixed
After half a dozen more pressings, the resin will
be like a pancake still showing some sandiness
but with a more homogenous coloration and texture.
Wait a few minutes to let the resin cool down. It
will be easier to snap the turkey bag off the resin.
Fold it back into a mass and place it back in the
Press again with a bottle of newly boiled water.
The pressing process lasts 10 to 15 minutes and
is repeated 3 times so that over 30 minutes optimal
decarboxylation is completed. The color will
be uniform and no sandiness should be apparent
after the final pressing.
Rolling the resin into a compact ball between the
palms of my gloved hands until I have a perfectly
smooth surface is the last step of the pressing;
it is an amazing resin preservation technique
from the Nepal, traditionally done with Charas
that I tailored to my needs. I let my “Temple Ball”
rest on a drying rack for a week to ten days
before storing. The mass of resin goes through a
“chemical reaction stage” after pressing, a final
polymerization of the terpenes and chlorophyll
dissipation that needs time to “settle down” to a
Finally, I wrap the temple ball in natural cellophane
(not polypropylene) put it in a glass container
that is kept in a dark and cool place for
Cannabinoids stability is influenced by light,
temperature, humidity and oxygen availability;
the choice of container and aging environment is
Most connoisseurs would agree that the aging
process helps mellow the smoke and improves
the flavors of Hashish but there is no scientific
data available on the subject. However, there is
plenty first-hand reports about quality Hashish
as old as 12 years, 3 to 5 years being common.
Like tobacco, wine, hard liquor or cheese whose
essences are enhanced by aging, Hashish cured
and aged to perfection has no rival in quality.
Frenchy Cannoli was a consultant, educator and
writer in the Cannabis industry with special focus
on hash making using traditional methods. www.
frenchycannoli.com or seen on Instagram
®Frenchy Cannoli 2016
Jerome Baker & Frenchy, Boston Freedom Rally
Photograph by Sly Vegas
by John Labo
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Is In Our Genes
A Dangerous Side Effect Of Keeping Cannabis I legal
by Jarrett Ashley
“Delta-8 THC” has exploded into the market in a big
way. You can hardly go to the gas station anymore
without seeing some sort of delta-8 product. Just on
the heels of the CBD craze that spread across the
country, it seems at first glance like another win for the
cannabis legalization and access efforts. In some small
ways, it is - but is there more to it? Is it potentially a
set-back, or worse - a pathway to tighter controls on
ALL cannabis, just as the industry is starting to flourish
and spread? Is it possible that delta-8 is just the
newest example in a long line of cheap, unregulated
“legal highs” with unfortunately dangerous side effects?
With all the attention from authorities, in particular in
states with legal cannabis, it seems that at a minimum
there are some major red flags to address concerning
I know I might ruffle some feathers with this article. I
understand these products are a source of high profits
for a lot of shops out there from small boutiques to
smoke shops and vape shops in areas where the real
deal is still criminalized or otherwise inaccessible. I’m
going to ask you to consider whether it’s worth it to
know what you are selling to people or better to just
make as much money as possible. If it’s the latter, I’m
not sure why you’d read an article of mine because I
have definitely ragged on you in the past and will likely
do so in this piece as well. If you’re in it because you
care about the culture, the cause, or at the very least
the customers in the cannabis market, you may want
to know a few things about these delta 8 products and
how they are hurting, not only people, but the legalization
effort as well. With that said, let’s get into it.
What is Delta 8?
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid.
It is present in both recreational/medical cannabis
as well as industrial hemp that the majority of CBD
products are derived from. It has been compared to the
better known psychoactive component THC delta-9
in the same way commercial light beer is compared to
craft brew. delta 8 is supposed to get you “high”, but
nowhere near as high as delta 9. Having used delta-9
products for a long time and trying a few Delta 8 products
(before I realized the downsides) out of curiosity
- I can tell you they are worlds apart. Not simply in the
level of the high but in the quality and characteristics
of it as well. There's more of a “I think I feel something
in my body” with delta-8 than the more profound “Let
me ponder the meaning of my own existence” with
delta-9, but that’s maybe for a more philosophical conversation
If all of this is sounding good to you, you’re not alone.
It sounded good to me too and to many countless
people across the country. People like my mother
who became believers in the benefits of various CBD
products and had their curiosity peaked by this new
product suddenly available to them. The switch came
for me when I was reading the jar of the delta-8 flower
she had picked up from a local health boutique. In
tiny text under the giant “THC △8” on the label, it said
“infused hemp flower”. I immediately told my mom to
stop using it and started to do some initial homework.
“Infused” meant they were adding something to the
flower and that was a massive red flag for me.
While delta-8 THC is naturally present it is not present
in significant amounts and is nearly undetectable in lab
tests. In other words, there is only an extremely tiny
amount of “naturally occurring” Delta-8 in any cannabis
plant. The amount is so small that even a field of
hemp would barely produce enough to make one vape
cartridge. So what do you do? You make it. The delta-8
THC craze was triggered when an oversupply of CBD
extracted from US-grown hemp caused the price of
CBD to drop. That’s how the market is supposed to
work by the way and it ultimately benefits end consumers
but unsurprisingly, producers began looking
for ways to turn the CBD into something more profitable.
Thus, the main source of delta-8 is CBD itself, not
CBD rich hemp plants as we are led to believe. In order
to have enough to create a profitable market, they
found a way to chemically convert excess CBD into
delta-8 through a process called “isomerization”.
Here’s The Problem
The process of turning CBD into delta-8 requires solvents
and acids. In a fully regulated, safety-controlled
market, third party lab testing would be required to
ensure that none of that was left in the final product.
However, since delta-8 is derived from commercial
hemp and is legal through technicalities, it is entirely
unregulated. There are zero requirements around
health claims, labeling or product quality/safety. It is so
unregulated that there are often not even age restrictions
on who can buy these products. Without third
party testing, the risk of contaminated and potentially
toxic end products is much higher. Sadly, the results
are already starting to come out.
According to the FDA, between December 2020 and
July 2021, poison-control centers received 660 calls
about people who consumed Delta-8 THC, almost all
of them children, dozens of whom were hospitalized
with symptoms such as erratic heart rates, sedation,
and even coma. Similarly, the CDC released a review of
emergency room visits where delta-8 THC was mentioned
as the primary complaint. The review indicated
that the vast majority of these visits (73%) were concentrated
in mostly southern states where access to
medical and/or recreational cannabis is still prohibited
Both agencies released consumer alerts concerning
delta-8 products as well. The FDA consumer alert
warns that enforcement action will be taken against
companies marketing these products in deceptive ways
and/or with unsubstantiated health claims. The notice
also lists five “Things to Know” about the serious
health risks of delta-8 THC:
1. Delta-8 THC products have not been
evaluated or approved by the FDA for
safe use and may be marketed in ways
that put public health at risk.
2. The FDA has received adverse event
reports involving delta-8 THC-containing
3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and
4. Delta-8 THC products often involve use
of potentially harmful chemicals
to create the concentrations of delta-8
THC claimed in the marketplace.
5. Delta-8 THC products should be kept
out of the reach of children and pets.
If this is all starting to sound a little familiar to you, it’s
because this has all basically happened before. Back in
2018, the FDA released a statement that included:
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has become
aware of reports of severe illnesses and deaths resulting
from the use of synthetic cannabinoid (marijuana)
These unapproved products are being sold in convenience
stores and gas stations as substitutes for marijuana
under names such as “K2” and “Spice.” Use of
these illegal products pose significant public health
concerns for individuals who may use the contaminated
There are a number of synthetic marijuana products
being illegally marketed and used for their psychoactive
effects. [...] Generally, these products have been
known to be associated with adverse effects including
rapid heart rate, vomiting, violent behavior and suicidal
thoughts, and an increase in blood pressure, as well
as causing reduced blood supply to the heart, kidney
damage, and seizures.”
That’s right… Spice. If you aren't familiar with it at
all, you are probably lucky enough to have always had
access to the real thing. Anyone who has had to resort
to whatever is available at the smoke shop is probably
familiar with spice (or one of its various other names)
and probably all too familiar with the side effects that
can often be as random as they are disorienting and
uncomfortable. I once thought I did permanent damage
to my brain and might die after smoking spice on
a work break - an effect I have NEVER experienced in
almost 20 years of using cannabis.
Now, spice and delta-8 aren’t exactly the same thing.
Delta-8 is made by chemically converting CBD
through isomerization while the cannabinoids found
in spice are entirely synthetic and have no naturally
occurring counterpart. Both are created in the lab,
concentrated and then sprayed onto smokable plant
material or made into vaporizer cartridges. In the case
of spice, the plant material itself could be dangerous
to smoke but thankfully, Delta-8 is sprayed onto hemp
flowers which are relatively more safe. flowers which
are relatively more safe.
It all gets shady and potentially unsafe due to the
complete lack of any kind of oversight to the market.
This comes at more of a cost than just the potential of
harming your customers - but that alone should be
reason enough to drop delta-8 like a bad habit. If it’s
not, consider that you may be risking the entire legalization
effort by marketing and selling dangerous,
unregulated products within the context of the overall
cannabis industry. We all know there are special interest
groups that would love to reverse the course of the
recent wave of new legal cannabis laws. The last thing
we should be doing is giving them any fodder at all to
use in their empty anti-cannabis rhetoric. Especially
for a few bucks...
They only see $$$
While there are certainly people making delta-8
products as safely as possible, it is sadly impossible to
guarantee consistency and quality in a completely unregulated
space. There are a number of companies that
lie about testing or use lab results from other people’s
products to pass off as their own. There are questionable
health claims made by some and outright false
ones made by others. It can all be very confusing to
the naive consumer who is looking for a way into the
cannabis world that has been slowly opening up over
the past two decades and extremely profitable to those
who take advantage of them. So many of these companies
could care less about the safety of their products
so long as:
A) It’s legal, even technically
- and -
B) It’s extremely profitable.
Too many of these “bad apples” have saturated the
market and make a bad name for the few that are
trying to do things right and safely. It’s impossible to
name them all since they will just continue to pop up
so long as there is money to be made riding the wave.
That being said, here’s a list of brands that should be
avoided at all costs because of their very clear lack of
1. Catskill Hemp Co
2. Cloud 8
4. Delta XL
5. Earthbound Hempz
6. Miracle Leaf
7. Palm Trees
8. Puff Delta 8
10. Straight 8
12. Your Cure CBD
The Welcomed Crackdown
Several states have now banned the sale of delta-8
products. The most surprising thing to me early on was
that the states that were taking action first were New
York, Colorado and Nevada - all states that had voted
to legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use.
This was another sign that something wasn’t quite right
with delta-8. Then came the giant sting and consequent
shut-down of Champs in Las Vegas back in July
of this year. Undercover police, FBI and DEA agents
were present at the event. They were looking for people
selling (or even sampling) delta-8 products. When they
found them, they shut the entire event down early and
kept it closed until the next day after all vendors with
delta-8 had been charged and/or removed.
As of this writing, 16 states total have either restricted
or outright banned delta-8 products. Even in light of
all that, the battle to suppress the manufacture and
sale of synthetic cannabinoids like delta-8 and spice
has been largely ineffective. It is cheap to produce,
extremely easy to purchase almost anywhere in the US
and Europe, and virtually impossible to prevent people
from buying and selling online. But there is one way
that regulators could deter people from buying synthetic
ganja knock offs for good - simply legalize the
A Side Effect of Ongoing Prohibition
The solution to all of this, of course, is federal cannabis
legalization. If the naturally grown cannabis, with
delta-9 THC were made legal, demand for delta-8 —a synthetic product made to meet a demand where laws prohibit
access to safer cannabis products—would vanish overnight. If and when federal legalization finally happens,
Delta-8 and all other bad-faith “legal high” products will be made obsolete.
The only reason this entire “legal high” market exists is because the safer, more beneficial products are made illegal
under ridiculously outdated prohibition laws. The insanity of the effort to keep cannabis illegal would almost
be comical if it wasn’t so terrifyingly sad to think about the ripple effect these laws have on communities across
the country. So much ground has been gained by incredible people along the way who have fought and sacrificed
far too much to have it all jeopardized now. Especially by something like delta-8 or for profits sake.
Press your local politicians or vote them the hell out. Demand legalization now!
Las Vegas Biz Con A Post Covid Renaissance.
by Roland Endblazin
Las Vegas Nevada, October 2021. The Las Vegas cannabis
business convention returns.
This planet has evolved in many ways since we’ve last
been here. Not only has the world faced a life-changing
pandemic. The Las Vegas cannabis scene has also
evolved into quite a prosperous and profitable industry.
It seems a no brainer that Las Vegas would embrace
this increasingly profitable industry that has mind
altering effects. After all the whole city was built on
welcoming people to a place that is intoxicating in
every way possible.
Why would cannabis be any different?
It has evolved and is continuing to do so. There is still a
ways to go but we’ve taken many steps already.
Although the laws have evolved and possession and
consumption of cannabis is now legal, there is still
plenty of gray area. Anyone over the age of 21 can
possess 1 ounce/28 g of cannabis flower. Or 1/8 of an
ounce/3.5 g of concentrated marijuana. Dispensaries
are plentiful so finding some thing is not a problem.
And there is some amazing quality both in flower and
Federal laws prohibit possession and consumption in
public and in any federal area which includes quite a
few places. As always be careful of your surroundings.
That being said we are in Las Vegas for a cannabis
convention after all. Although there are rules and regulations
which prohibit many things from happening,
clubs and private parties can be very cooperative in
ignoring the cannabis community enjoying themselves.
There is no consumption of cannabis allowed on the
convention floor however there is a smoking area set
up that can be a very fun area to see friendly faces and
share some smoke.
Of course sharing smoke is quite different this time
around. Most people were privately smoking their
own joints and using their own personal equipment.
Covid has turned sharing into something different but
our community will always come together to share a
session in someway.
photography by Peter Papadopoulos
And taking a break from time to time is necessary.
This convention is enormous. Spending the whole
day walking the length of five football fields takes
its toll. It is like Disneyland for anyone in the cannabis
industry. Connecting with the company that
takes care of your companies needs is right at your
fingertips. Surrounded by booths that have innovative
products and old familiar favorites that continue
to evolve, you’re sure to connect with whatever
your company’s needs are.
Top: Roland Endblazin, Mike Tyson & Floyd Mayweather
Below: Tyson Ranch x Futurola Blunt Wraps
From simple products to stocking your dispensary
shelves with the most advanced technology in the
industry, it is all here.
And you never know who you might run into.
Futurola is rolling out a new brand for Mike Tyson.
One of the new products is a tobacco free blunt wrap.
The product really does have the feel of a blunt and I
am all for the idea of tobacco free smoking.
Mike himself showed up and hung out with the crowd.
It was an amazing experience to sit with Mike Tyson
smoking a joint.
As usual, there are friends and cannabis family who
are always at these events. Running into these companies
is always a pleasure. Seeing the Snail brand rolling
paper booth I couldn’t help but go over and say hello.
Their papers are elegant and customizable to the individual
customer they represent. Their products even
feature international artists for limited edition runs.
Very cool. Generous sponsors of Terp Tower invitational,
Snail Rolling Papers
Black Flies brand
glasses has collaborated
to bring us a
new pair of sunglasses
for the grow room.
Black Flies new
shades will keep you
straight. These glasses
designed with lenses to correct the spectrums of light
that is produced in grow rooms to give you a better,
clearer, and more accurate view of your grow room.
The high intensity grow lights are color corrected and
truly give you a completely new look at your garden.
And then there is the cool factor. These glasses are
great looking and super comfortable. Change the way
you look at the world and change the way the world
looks at you.
I also ran into a new product that is very simple but
also has a fun way of bringing color to your joints. Roll
the Life colorful tips. One of the things that make this
product different from others is the way it is presented.
Gumball sized spheres are filled with filter tips of
different colors. These spheres are all loaded into a
gumball machine and from a distance appear to be traditional
gumballs. A simple way to pick up a couple of
filter tips and making it fun as well. These gumball machines
can be filled with special spheres which could
give the recipient a prize. A very fun idea that has
Blackflys Eyewear Protective Glasses
many practical uses. And if you like smoking different
strains different colored tips can solve the problem of
distinguishing strain that you’re smoking.
This family run company was a pleasure to meet and
talk to about their product.
And after a hard day of hitting the Convention Center,
Las Vegas is prime for partying all night. Being invited
to a private party in Vegas is always special. The Wonderbrett
release party was quite fun. Their products are
available in dispensaries throughout Las Vegas. There a
new product, Black Orchard premium cannabis flower
is going to be available soon and is something quite
special. From its elegant packaging to its A+ quality
product the thought that was put into the presentation
of this product is unparalleled. After opening the box
and taking out the light filtering jar that the cannabis is
packaged in, cracking the seal brings a wonderful aroma
of this dank strain. Known for its powerful effects
this product does not let down. It really would be hard
to find something critical to say about this product.
They really got it right.
Black Orchard Premium Cannabis Flower
Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas Strip
At the end of the day we had to jump through a few
hoops and do things a little different than before. But
we evolve. And in doing so there is a rebirth and a
exciting feeling about what the future brings. With
conventions will come festivals and all the wonderful
things that we’ve grown to love throughout our lives.
Thank the universe for all the goodness that it brings.
The journey continues. Until the clearing at the end of
Roll the Life, Premium Rolling Tips
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