Happy New Year!

Humanity’s home state of California is celebrating the new year by being the latest state in the United States to fully legalize cannabis!

On Monday, January 1, recreational use of marijuana becomes legal here in the beautiful state of California. As The Telegraph says, “California will become the sixth state – and by far the most populous – to legalize and tax sales of recreational cannabis, completing a shift along the US west coast, with Massachusetts and Maine on track to change their laws on pot in 2018.”

California has over 40 million residents, which brings up the average, making 1 in 5 Americans living in a state which allows smoking and ingesting marijuana. With this size population, California is also the world’s sixth-largest economy.

In the United States, banking for marijuana businesses is still a huge issue, given the federal laws and the fact that recreational cannabis is only legal in a few states. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned people about investing in cannabis companies, as some have been shown to be a scam. Proper research is required to make sure your investments are in good hands.

However, no one can debate the fact that the marijuana industry is very quickly becoming of North America’s fastest-growing industries, especially watching the success Canada is having right now. Marijuana farms, dispensaries, and supply chains are growing and employing thousands of people and that number continues to grow. Even universities are recognizing the changes and have started incorporating courses on marijuana cultivation, legal regulations, and business.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, cannabis-related companies are already employing more than 100,000 workers, including up to 27,000 involved in cultivation, 52,000 in dispensaries and 66,000 in ancillary industries. Just like other industries, the marijuana world needs accountants, truck drivers, cashiers, and other positions.

Cannabis Boom

According to Business Insider, one report from the cannabis industry research firm BDS Analytics estimates that the sales of cannabis will hit $3.7 billion in 2018 alone and predict that the number will increase to $5.1 billion in 2019 as more dispensaries come online and more people continue to get easier and better access to cannabis. As a comparison, beer sales in California hit $5 billion for the first time in 2017, according to industry research group IBIS World.

Legal marijuana sales are predicted to hit $9.7 billion in the states where recreational marijuana is legal, excluding California (not legal until 1/1/2018), and Canada in 2017 alone, says BDS. That number is expected to hit $24.5 billion in sales by 2021, despite continued federal prohibition. This shows how big of an impact California alone will have on this total.

As the recreational use goes into effect on January 1, be patient! A few of the largest cities in California, including LA and San Francisco, are still working to pass regulations and have missed the January 1 date, but will soon be available. This simply means that some dispensaries may not have their recreational-use licenses on Monday but are in the process of getting them.

With California being so large, it is somewhat expected to see these kinds of snags in the regulatory side, but it is on track and happening.

Prices may also be rising. According to Green State, the price of an eighth-ounce of marijuana — now around $54 including tax — will increase to approximately $65, though local municipalities may levy different fees. Part of this rise is due to the state applying an excise tax on recreational-use marijuana sales. If you are using marijuana for medicinal purposes and are a registered patient, this should not affect you. Californian officials are hopeful that ease of procurement and legality will keep people from going to the unregulated black market for their needs.

Nonetheless, all dispensaries need to get licensed and be ready to sell as quickly as possible. Being able to legally and easily get marijuana is the only way this will work for everyone.

“If there are only 10 regulated dispensaries in the East Bay and I live 45 minutes from one of them, I’m going to call my dealer or my unregulated delivery service like I’ve done for the last five years,” Hezekiah Allen, the executive director of the California Growers Association, told Bloomberg, “What we need to do in California right now is ensure that every Californian that wants to consume cannabis can buy it at an affordable price, conveniently, from a licensed retailer,” Allen added.

Aspen High Summit

Jim Lewi, a music industry veteran of both Red Light Management and Goldstar Management, created Aspen Live in 1996, which has grown and gone on to become the premier think-tank for music and live entertainment. They hosted their 22nd annual conference this year at Limelight Lodge in Aspen, Colorado just this past week, from December 6 – 9. Aspen Live has long been considered the “Sun Valley Conference for the music industry” and has truly become one of the most fun and tightly-knit conference, chock full of gatherings, fun events, and a finely curated curriculum.

After his immense success with Aspen Live over the last 22 years, Lewi has launched Aspen High, a brand new cannabis conference in the same location, which is one of the first states in the U.S. to have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults. Lewi is partnering with Steve DeAngelo to bring this summit to life.

DeAngelo is a national cannabis leader, author, entrepreneur, and activist who founded Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the world, as well as is the President and co-founder of Arcview Group, an investor matchmaking firm to connect investor with the cannabis community. DeAngelo is also an ardent believer that cannabis is a medicine and should be used for wellness, not intoxication. He is a leader in the industry and teaches businesses how to enter the cannabis industry.

Lewi has said that he and DeAngelo created this new conference mainly for people in the medical and recreational cannabis business and hopes it helps prepare the country for the inevitable nationwide legalization of cannabis use.

“It’s hard for any company that does business, especially on an international or national level, to get involved with cannabis right now,” Lewi said. “It’s not like Live Nation can just start selling cannabis at their amphitheaters tomorrow. [sic] It’s already being consumed at their events and they’re not getting a piece of it,” Lewi said. “And I think that it’s certainly proven to be a lot safer in terms of fights and accidents and breakups than alcohol.”

Happening At the Summit

Aspen High Summit is an invitation-only event bringing together thought leaders and disruptors in the music and cannabis industries.

Aspen High is happening this Monday, December 11, and running for three full days. According to Billboard, there will be panels on “cannabis sales at music events, a panel on the influence of media featuring Voice Media CEO Scott Tobias along with Ricardo Baca, founder of the country’s first newspaper-backed marijuana news site The Cannabist and star of the 2015 documentary Rolling Papers. Also speaking is John Boyle with Insomniac, Tripp Keber with Dixie Elixirs, Nikki Lastreto with Swami Select and Andrew Kline with the National Association of Cannabis Businesses.”

Each day of the three-day summit starts at 12:30 pm with an optional on-mountain get together to go skiing and if you are not a skier, don’t worry! They thought of everything. Monday the event at the same time for non-skiers is a lunch at Justice Snow’s, Tuesday is snowmobiling at the T-Lazy 7 Ranch, and Wednesday is a cooking class. Panels start at 4 pm daily, with one from 4-5pm, the next is 5:10-6:10 pm, and the final is 6:20-7:20 pm and a group dinner each night at 8:30 at different locations.

The panels at the summit are:

  • Cannabis Sales, Consumption, & Music: The Future of Marijuana Onsite at Mainstream Events.
  • The Influence of Media in Music and Cannabis
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Investing in Cannabis: Strategy and Due Diligence
  • The Legal Landscape for Music and Cannabis
  • Brand or Die: The Intersection of Branding, Entertainment, and Cannabis
  • Canada: The investment landscape in the world’s (soon-to-be) largest adult-use market
  • Corporate v. Underground
  • Political Landscape of the Cannabis Industry

What Are Cannabinoids?

An Overview of Cannabinoids

The term “medical marijuana” can often refer to the entire marijuana plant, adding to its extracts, used to treat various illnesses. And the FDA does not recognize whole marijuana plants as medicine – yet. The reason for this is that the FDA requires carefully conducted clinical trials in hundreds to thousands of human patients/subjects, and so far, researchers haven’t conducted enough large-scale clinical trials that show that the benefits of the entire marijuana plant (as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients) outweigh its risks in patients it’s meant to treat.

We currently have two FDA-approved pill medications made of cannabinoids, based on scientific studies, and continued research is likely to lead to more medications created and officially approved in the future.

This brief dive into the cannabis chemistry known as cannabinoids is meant to educate you. Many people don’t know how to answer the question “How is marijuana a medicine?” And we at Humanity want to arm you with the knowledge to answer that question in straightforward terms.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are the specific chemical compounds that comprise the cannabis flowers and are shown to provide relief from many symptoms and illnesses, such as inflammation, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and more. Examples of cannabinoids include the psychotropic THC and the non-psychoactive CBD.

These cannabinoids simply imitate and work with our endocannabinoids, which your body naturally produces, to help your body naturally maintain stability. This article from Scholastic discusses what the endocannabinoid system does, how it interacts with receptors to regulate important body functions, including how you move and react. Cannabinoids mediate communications between cells, and you need a healthy and normally-functioning endocannabinoid system.

What medications contain cannabinoids?

Two FDA-approved drugs, dronabinol and nabilone, contain THC. They treat nausea, such as when it is caused by chemotherapy and helps to increase appetite in patients with extreme weight loss caused by AIDS and other debilitating diseases.

These drugs also assist with inflammation and there is testing being done showing that cannabinoids can helps quell the symptoms of major illnesses like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The United Kingdom, Canada, and several European countries have approved nabiximols, called Sativex, which is a mouth spray that contains both THC and CBD. Sativex treats muscle control problems caused by Multiple Sclerosis, but it isn’t yet approved by the FDA in the United States.

Epidiolex, a CBD-based liquid medication that is used to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy, is being tested in clinical trials but isn’t yet FDA-approved in the US, but is in places like Brazil.

Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana

An incomplete list of specific ways using medical marijuana can help humanity and our health. This list is pulled from this article in Business Insider and I have included their sources.

Have you had experience with medical marijuana? What was your experience like? Share with us here or on our Instagram!