California Makes Marijuana a Wellness Industry
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California Makes Marijuana a Wellness Industry
Posted by CN Staff on February 01, 2018 at 15:11:12 PT
By Dana Goodyear
Source: New Yorker Magazine
California -- By the time recreational marijuana usage became legal in California, on New Year’s Day, the government’s official permission seemed, for many Californians, like a belated, nearly irrelevant formality. Twenty-two years of ready access to medical marijuana had made casual consumption—a pull off a vape pen on the walk to dinner, post-prandial pot chocolates circulating in the living room, a THC strip tucked under the tongue—no more remarkable than an aperitif. Actually, less remarkable than a drink, because everyone knows that alcohol is bad for you (kills your stem cells, gives you cancer, makes you grouchy, paunchy, gray), whereas, increasingly, the industry is equating conscious marijuana use with sublime good health.
In the state of California, in recent years, thousands of people—disproportionately people of color—have been arrested or jailed on marijuana-related charges. (Under a provision in the state's marijuana law, Prop 64, many may be able to have their sentences reduced or convictions overturned.) But among an affluent demographic of Californians—heavily invested in optimizing personal experience, micro-regulating moods and appetites, states of pain and creative flow—cannabis is part of a booming wellness industry. Gone are the purple bongs, sexy nurses, dancing bears. In place of these skanky, skunky holdovers is an array of alluring products whose seduction lies in their eminently rational design. Dosist, formerly Hmblt (motto: “delivering health and happiness”), has released a collection of disposable vape pens preloaded with marijuana concentrate (available individually or in a gift set) targeting different desired states: bliss, calm, relief, and so on. The pen itself, Cupertino white and tampon-esque, vibrates when its user has inhaled 2.25 milligrams of THC. Marijuana, in this new form, is a therapeutic aid in the life of an active, productive professional—like fish oil, with better dreams. The new consumer (or the old consumer, reimagined) is not zonked in a La-Z-Boy watching “Wayne’s World” with a bag of chips. She is making a vision board for the startup she’s launching, lightly high on a strain promising to connect her to her intuition without stimulating binge-eating.Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. This past fall, after a spate of accidental overdoses, the state banned pot gummy bears and other shapes alluring to children. California learned from Colorado’s mistake; California regulations prohibit animal- and fruit-shaped edibles. At the edibles brand Lord Jones—the brain child of a marketing executive who popularized Lärabar, the nutrition-bar company, with the goal of “making good nutrition relevant and chic”—small-batch, high-potency confections are presented in luxurious boxes lined with golden foil and stamped with a heraldic crest. Think gold-tipped pastel-colored cocktail cigarettes, fancy candies, and, in the case of these CBD-heavy gummies, a “body high” that doesn’t affect cognition.The chef Holden Jagger, of the events company Altered Plates, considers marijuana a vegetable—from the pollen to the male plants, which he pickles, to the dehydrated leaves. He makes a cannabis rub for tri-tip, togarashi cannabis chips, and a medicated chimichurri. At a recent cocktail party in Los Angeles, he served his guests a non-alcoholic cocktail made from coconut water, lemon juice, and simple syrup infused with CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabis compound with anti-inflammatory properties available at juice bars and coffee shops around the state.California is the country’s largest legal marketplace for pot. Governor Jerry Brown’s latest budget anticipates six hundred and forty-three million dollars in tax revenue in the first full year of legalization; a study by the agricultural school at University of California, Davis, predicts five billion dollars in annual sales, on par with beer sales in the state. In North America at large, according to the research firm Arcview Group, sales of legal marijuana are expected to reach twenty-three billion dollars by 2021.Historically, California’s marijuana industry was based in the Emerald Triangle formed by the northern counties of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity. Humboldt Legends, a group of “heritage” cannabis farmers in Humboldt County, piloted a “track and trace” program, using QR codes and a Swiss security company, to bring transparency to the supply chain in anticipation of regulations that would accompany legalization. Among their products is live resin, created by freezing flowers within half an hour of harvest to preserve the intensity of aromatic terpenes and lead to a more potent psychoactive experience.Lori Ajax runs the Bureau of Cannabis Control, a new regulatory agency overseeing medical and recreational marijuana licensing. Republican, cannabis-naïve, and a veteran of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Ajax told me, “I came on my post in late February, bureau of one.” Ajax, who went on a learning tour, visiting growers, dispensaries, and factories, is tasked with bringing the industry out of the shadows.In recent years, as the state has prepared for legalization—which passed by ballot measure in November, 2016—numerous businesses focussing on marijuana distribution have emerged. California rules dictate that distributors, which deal with transportation, quality control, and tax collection, get licensed. One question that keeps Ajax up at night: Is the distribution infrastructure robust enough to keep the product flowing to the retail stores?Eaze, a San Francisco-based tech company that provides delivery-service technology to dispensaries, tracks cannabis use across its markets. Flowers are down; vape pens are up. In 2016, the number of women using Eaze went up thirty-two per cent. The company reports that “the modern marijuana consumer spends more on cannabis per year than the average American spends on personal care, alcohol, and tobacco combined.” According to the same study, thirteen per cent of female Californian weed users surveyed had stopped drinking entirely, replacing alcohol with cannabis.The Los Angeles dispensary Med Men distributes “Cannabis 101: A Practical Guide for the New Consumer.” On the first day of legalization, the line extended two blocks out the door. Customers entering the store must show I.D., proving that they are at least twenty-one years old. The shop, airy and open, with large glass windows and walnut cabinetry, is reminiscent of a high-end makeup store. It was designed specifically to counteract the image of the head shop, with barred windows and a waiting area presided over by an armed guard.Med Men, which has expanded to Nevada and New York (where it is still medical-only), wants marijuana to be mainstream. It offers high-intensity drinks, for medical patients only; topical creams for aging athletes; cannabis for dogs. A few weeks ago, the company launched a half-million-dollar billboard campaign. The ads don’t show joints, plants, edibles, or bongs, but they don’t have to. “Mom, is that for pot?” my friend’s twelve-year-old son asked as they passed a sign. He knew.On January 4th, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo reversing the Obama-era instructions to prosecutors and law enforcement not to interfere with the marijuana business in states where it is legal. California Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom joined Cory Gardner, a Republican senator from Colorado, in condemning Sessions’s move, saying that it infringes on states’ rights and jeopardizes a thriving and lucrative industry and a valuable new tax stream.A new campaign by the California Highway Patrol features signs announcing, “Drive High, Get a D.U.I.”Dana Goodyear, a staff writer, was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker from 1999 to 2007, when she began writing full time for the magazineSource: New Yorker Magazine (NY)Author: Dana Goodyear, Staff WriterPublished: January 31, 2018Copyright: 2018 Condé NastContact: themail newyorker.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on February 05, 2018 at 17:53:34 PT
seeing some movement
This is what we have been wanting; legal cannabis and clearing away peoples old cannabis convictions. It has taken a long time for the politicians to come around to this. It is nice to see it coming. Love isn’t always on time.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 05, 2018 at 14:03:20 PT
This is Good!
Colorado considering dismissing non-violent marijuana convictions: Gov. HickenlooperURL:
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on February 04, 2018 at 07:42:24 PT
still hopeful
You are right. It would take a room full of lawyers, accountants and economist to figure out a just settlement and that could take years and years, so I guess we will have to settle for expungement of records, move on as best we can, and be happy with the progress we have made.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on February 04, 2018 at 06:51:18 PT
John Tyler
It is odd that they chose 1975 as the beginning date. Donald Post wasn't compensated, I'm sure. How do you compensate a life? What can be returned and restored should be, but basically, I'm so truly thankful for the change and I'm not even going to think about what should be restored if it could be. We have a saying in our family about what's lost, gone, broken, or spilled. It started with an old children's story I used to read to my kids. It helps you go on."Nah. Nah. What's gone is gone."It would be wonderful if the government could restore what it took from people during that, and in some places, this, horrible mistake of injustice perpetrated against so many for so long. I don't think it could be done. Even if there was enough money.It's gone. Those people are mostly gone. Their livelihoods were stolen and time or government can't give it back. Let's be grateful they've stopped doing it. In some places. Let's hope they stop doing it everywhere. End the injustice. We can't make up for it. But I pray to God, we can end the injustice.I hope and pray this is the beginning of something good. Really good.
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on February 02, 2018 at 06:43:26 PT
expunging records
I think I saw on the news that California was, or is expunging all or most cannabis conviction going back to 1975. That is a good start. Why only back to 1975 though? How about some type of compensation with interest for legal fees, fines, and incarceration also? Cannabis prohibition disrupted the lives of a lot of people. Some reconciliation is needed.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on February 01, 2018 at 16:05:30 PT
Yeah, the insane are running the asylum!
See: "Lori Ajax runs the Bureau of Cannabis Control, a Republican, cannabis-naïve,"Do you think this is done on purpose!After all these years... !OMG!On and on.And: "According to the same study, thirteen per cent of female Californian weed users surveyed had stopped drinking entirely, replacing alcohol with cannabis."But that was not wanted going back to 1937! Keep 'em boozed up!So, despite all these good developments we still have a newbie at the helm with all dire consequences that it will entail. And, we are at their mercy!!Will we ever live to see the day?The utter insanity of it all!It keeps boggling my mind!
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