Greed and Weed: Dispensary Owner Weighs In on Legal Pot’s Mold Problem

In a random assessment conducted by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment in September, Denver dispensaries failed health inspections for mold and yeast. Westword studied reports for tests conducted at 25 dispensaries over a two-day period, and at twenty of them, some form of cannabis tested over the state’s limit for total mold and yeast. That’s an 80 percent failure rate. Many of the failing products came from outside growers whose marijuana had already passed state tests.

The results of the assessment and what they might mean for city and state pot programs are still under review by the DDPHE, which won’t publish its report on the study for some time. But the department acknowledges that concerns over contaminated cannabis inspired the test. In 2019 alone, Colorado has seen a handful of commercial pot recalls over mold concerns. Rumors of shady practices to pass mold testing abound, and industry insiders also gripe about the state’s testing process for mold, as well as the lack of context that most testing labs provide for mold and yeast specificity.

Opinions about what is or isn’t moldy cannabis, much less the safety of consuming it, vary widely. Most growers want to provide safe weed, but also have a lot of money on the line if their buds get flagged.

To dive deeper into what commercial cannabis growers are facing, we caught up with Chuck Blackton, founder and owner of Verde Natural Wellness, a dispensary and cultivation company with two stores in Colorado — and zero reported mold or pesticide issues.

Westword: Why is mold becoming an issue for commercial cannabis now? Is this something that’s been going on for a while?

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Chuck Blackton: A lot of it comes down to how these people set up their grow rooms. At the end of the day, you’re playing God in these grow rooms. You hit a certain dew point, you get a swing of temperature and all that sort of fluctuation, and that mold and powdery mildew starts to happen. I think a lot of it is due to how people are setting up their rooms, with exhaust placement and temperature control. I don’t think a lot of people want to put the money in to make sure it’s perfect, and then they have to deal with these issues.

There are also certain strains that can handle it better than others. Some strains and genetics really are more susceptible to these things, and not everyone considers that when they’re setting up these huge grows. People who are buying genetics from others can fall to it. Powdery mildew is a systemic problem. Let’s say I have it on my plants but we clean it up and then plan on [cloning it] — that still doesn’t mean that PM is all the way out of there. It could come back in future crops. When I first moved to Colorado, a lot of people didn’t even know what PM was. After all these growers came here from other climates, it started happening a lot more.

Out here, we’ve had so many genetics spread around that aren’t necessarily clean. Some people have gone back to popping seeds, to know they have a clean start. Others are using tissue culture, because you’re almost guaranteed clean genetics. It’s an evolving way to clean up some of that undesirable stuff, but it’s pretty expensive. Even with all of that, it still doesn’t mean that you can’t have environmental problems. You can have the best growing room out there, but maybe one night the electricity goes off, or the temperature fluctuates.

For us, we don’t get the yield certain people do. We want a good yield, but we don’t concentrate on it. When you grow these exotic strains, they don’t yield the way a normal producer would. I think a lot of the more corporate minds are the people concentrated on the bottom line; they concentrate on yield.

What are some precautions or techniques you use to avoid mold entering the grow?

For everyone, no matter the size of the operation, it’s been one of the hardest things, because it’s agriculture at the end of the day, and things are going to happen. And there are only so many products we’re allowed to use right now, because of regulations. I think a lot of these laboratories that test cannabis — not just in Colorado, but other states, too — they need to pay attention to the curve, because we can only use products that are certified by the state, and there’s not enough. Still, when you think of what we smoked back in the day, who knows what was in there. In that regard, thank God for the testing!

If you let powdery mildew go, it spreads rampant. If you catch it early, you can take care of it. But once the resin starts to develop the mildew, you can’t spray it. You’re limited in what you can do once you can catch it, if it’s caught too late.

For us, the way we do our growing rooms, we have a lot of smaller rooms. We don’t have rooms with hundreds of lights and tons of plants. Because that’s something I’ve always said: The bigger the room, the more you need to keep an eye on things. When you have smaller rooms, you can give more love to the plants. When you have these large rooms, the risk is too big.

Chuck Blackton's Verde dispensaries are located in Denver and Boulder.

Chuck Blackton’s Verde dispensaries are located in Denver and Boulder.

Courtesy of Chuck Blackton

How have the cannabis and agricultural industries evolved to take on these contamination issues?

The more we’re moving on, the more nutrient companies are evolving. They know we can’t use a lot of this other stuff [for other plants]. Sometimes, you reach a point where a problem with a plant gets so bad that you just can’t do anything more about it. It all depends on how early you catch everything.

It’s also maintaining your [growing] environments, and having a good team that checks on them. Sometimes you can have the best team and best environment, and things still happen. Even in small, independent grow rooms, people still have these problems.

For us, we’ve had different problems with bugs, and a lot of it had to do with grows that were set up near us and had problems, which then spread to us. So we have sterile clothes in the grow room now. We spray our shoes down. It’s a tough thing to manage, no doubt about it. But this is all gardening, and you need to give these plants as much love as you can.

Are the issues more avoidable in outdoor or greenhouse grows?

Indoors, you’re always going to be more in control. Outdoors, you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. In northern California and Humboldt areas, you’ll have a lot more cloudy days than others. Indoors, you’d definitely have the most control with lighting and temperature. In a greenhouse, you’ll have more control than outdoors, because you’re still inside with supplemental lighting.

How does a grower more concerned with quality of cannabis than yield stay afloat as more big money comes into Colorado’s cannabis industry?

You’ll either be caught up in the commercial game or become a microbrewery — that’s how I look at it. For a lot of people, it’s never been about the money. It’s always been about providing the best, and we’ll keep at it. Is it difficult to compete against this big money? Of course it is, but at the end of the day, people can still buy a Bud Light or craft beer.

How we grow it, the love we put into the plants — the culture of true smokers understand what true quality is. But then you also have a lot of uneducated users who are just looking for a good deal. I feel like we’re able to keep up with the madness, but we’re not trying to over-expand and take over the world. We want to do things at the right pace.

What I have a problem with is potency testing. I’ll smoke something that supposedly tests at 33 percent THC, and then I’ll smoke something else that tests at 12 percent, and the two don’t compare. The 12 percent stuff can be much better. To me, that’s a marketing ploy. When we wholesale weed, some people only want strains that test above 20 percent THC. My test is putting it in my Sheldon Black bong and lighting up.

Most of these people trying to take over this industry with deep pockets don’t even smoke. I’ll talk with someone for an hour about the cannabis business and ask if they want to light a joint after we’re done. They almost always say that they don’t smoke! A lot of old-school people have been kicked out of this industry because they can’t afford the money it costs anymore. Some of the best growers of our generation can’t afford to get into this, or they have felonies for growing. It’s that kind of stuff that still makes you sad.

Even myself, I’ve gotten burned out sometimes. But I’m needed here. There’s still a lot of people who have the love for quality buds and that original excitement.


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Online Cultivation Course Wants Your Weed Growing Career to Bloom

Growing cannabis at home is legal in Colorado, but some of the weed we’ve seen harvested from basements should be outlawed. Seeds, pests, mold and larf are all common challenges faced by inexperienced cultivators, and can result in poor smell and taste, as well as waste a lot of time and money most of us don’t have.

Tyler Morley and Jeremy Deale, two commercial cannabis cultivators in Colorado, believe they’ve created an online cannabis curriculum, the Chronic Method, that will help home growers avoid those costly, buzz-killing issues. Similar to the Three a Light method, the course gives growers step-by-step instructions from seed to harvest, and the duo makes pretty bold claims on the strategy’s success rate.

We recently sat down with Morley and Deale to learn more about the Chronic Method, and how growers can maximize their yields.

Westword: How did you each end up becoming cannabis growers?

Tyler Morley: I’m from Virginia, and I grew up in agricultural areas; I was working at golf courses when I was fifteen. Then my cousin moved to Breckenridge in 2009. So I graduated high school, got my associate’s and then got my agricultural degree from Virginia Tech. Two years later, I hit up my cousin to visit him for a ski trip, and that’s where I met one of his colleagues, Nick. I struck up a good relationship with this guy through my cousin over the next few years.

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I kind of wanted to change my life, and didn’t want to be in the golf industry anymore, but I still wanted to stay in agriculture. … Right after Colorado went legal, Nick asked me to come out and work for him. I moved out here in 2015, started at a facility in Aurora that is now called Treehouse, and moved my way up the ladder there. Then I went to Super Farm and was a manager over there and helped their buildouts. I’ve built out and started up some initial facilities here in Denver, and was lucky enough to be on the ground floor. I’ve really loved it ever since.

Jeremy Deale: My introduction to cannabis was through my uncles, who were into a lot of things. But one of them actually grew his own crop in Fort Collins. I was, like, fourteen and on my way up to an Iron Maiden concert the first time I was ever around it. Fort Collins just seemed to be a hot environment in the ’80s and ’90s for cannabis. I played a lot of soccer, so I wasn’t a big smoker, but I was always around it. And, like Tyler, my family is farmers. I grew up with my grandparents, and both of them were farmers.

So in the early 2000s, I’m remodeling kitchens, and one of the guys I’m working with is Pete Williams, the co-founder of Medicine Man. Long story short, my friend and I helped Pete get his start in the cannabis world.

My wife made me leave the industry for four or five years, so I was helping caregivers and home growers get set up around that time. I met Josh Haupt of Three a Light through a mutual friend, and they offered me a job at the beginning, based on my experience. Through my relationship with Pete Williams, I actually set Medicine Man and Three a Light up together [Morley worked there, too]. Then, after the merger, Tyler and I walked into work, and we didn’t have jobs. That’s why we started the Chronic Method.

What made you so confident about this growing process that you wanted to share it with others?

Deale: We know it works, because we worked it for over two years straight. It’s the top production method on the planet right now.

Morley: Back when the black market was at its strongest, it was damaging the recreational market. Not even a year ago, indoor pounds were going for $ 650. People who don’t grow the quantity nor the quality that Three a Light, Medicine Man, Super Farm or Pioneer — the largest producer of cannabis in the world — grows can’t survive, because they don’t have the methodology to produce those pounds for less than $ 600.

This methodology is going to save peoples’ asses on the legal market, and it’s going to save a lot of home growers from headaches and problems in their basements. Jeremy and I have had our hands in over 6,000 pounds of harvest during a 24-month period. When Sweet Leaf was at its full capacity, our 33,000-square-foot facility was outproducing their 100,000-square-foot facility by almost 30 percent. At the end of the day, it’s all numbers, and if the market plummets again, some people might not survive it.

Deale: Most average growers can get a pound and a half to two pounds per light. This method is used to grow three, four or as high as five pounds per light, depending on environment. If you’re not including trim — which is a sellable and usable product — I’ve still seen three or four pounds of flower per light. If you’re trying to make your own medicine as a home grower, those extra pounds could save you from running cycles year-round. It’s a little more expensive up front, but the production pays for itself tenfold.

A lot of reasons that a first-timer wouldn’t try out growing is because they’re afraid the crop will die, get attacked by bugs, or something dumb will happen that they can’t react to. This is a crash course in cannabis that will eliminate those problems.

How does this technique differ if you’re in a basement compared to a large-scale operation?

Deale: The only difference is really space and the number of plants. You can do it with one plant, two plants, 200 plants or 400 plants. The guidelines break it down so there’s no interpretation.

Morley: There are five factors when growing any plant: light, water, air, nutrients and soil. As long as you hit those five things and do everything we say, you can be indoor, commercial, residential or even a greenhouse.

The method applies to outside, too. You’d get close to the same results in a greenhouse or outdoors, but you won’t have the same light intensity. So the production would vary from crop to crop outside, but it’s still the best yield you’d get outside.

In terms of difficulty, what would you compare growing cannabis to? Is it harder to grow than most vegetables or maintaining a small pet?

Deale: If you’re indoors, it’d be the same as growing cucumbers or tomatoes indoors. It does take some time and commitment to maintenance, but like anything else, you get in what you put out.

How much have cannabis growing techniques and equipment changed in the past five years?

Morley: The equipment just keeps getting better. Not a whole lot of methodology is changing, but the equipment really is. A lot of it has to do with lighting: A lot of people think that nutrients is the plant’s food. And it is, but it’s more of a supplement. Photosynthesis and light is how the plant gets real food. Trying to mimic the sun is hard to do, so we’ve seen a lot of lighting companies coming out with full-spectrum tech and the most efficient bulbs to get the most bang for your buck. The equipment is constantly evolving, and it’s something to stay on top of.

Deale: The industry hasn’t been legal long enough for us to really say anything definitive. You can’t tell people that this person is a master grower, because no one has hit the ceiling yet. No one knows what the full potential is. There are some really, really good growers out there, no doubt. Josh Haupt, the Jungle Boys, Pioneer — those are all really good growers who can hit those high numbers.

But methodology is just part of it. Equipment and science keep getting better. We’re looking at soil humidity and leaf surface temperature now. We’re able to see bugs days before the physical eye can see them. The technology that’s in this is changing so much, but I don’t think the way people have grown agriculture overall has changed much. People still grow carrots the same way they did thousands of years ago. It’s pretty much the same, but we just try to accentuate it and keep adding variables to make this equation the best. That’s where our heads were at with the Chronic Method. It literally walks growers through this.


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Bernie Sanders’s Billion-Dollar Weed Plan: Lots of Social Equity, No Big Tobacco

Bernie Sanders isn’t coy about his desire to see marijuana legalized, but the Democratic presidential candidate’s plans for the plant will go much further than that if he’s elected to the White House in 2020.

Sanders’s pot platform, just released today, October 24 (at 4:20 p.m. Eastern time, no less), includes plans to federally legalize marijuana and declassify marijuana as a controlled substance via executive action within 100 days of his inauguration, as well as to ban tobacco and cigarette corporations from entering the legal pot trade.

His proposal also includes vast expungement efforts for past marijuana convictions, although it doesn’t specify which levels of crimes would be eligible. It does say, however, that federal funding will support organizations that partner with cities and states for nationwide expungement, and will “revitalize the executive clemency process” by launching a clemency board in the White House that would be outside of the United States Department of Justice’s control.

According to the Sanders campaign, expungement efforts will be based on California’s recently enacted model, which calls for state and local prosecutors to review current and past marijuana cases for record-clearing.

“This review will include re-sentencing for all currently incarcerated with marijuana convictions. Following determination of eligibility or status, prosecutors will have one year to appeal or object, after which authorities will automatically expunge and vacate past marijuana convictions for all those eligible,” the plan states.

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According to the plan, marijuana industry revenue would be reinvested into “communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs, especially African-American and other communities of color,” with a $ 20 billion grant program for the Minority Business Development Agency to provide funding for “entrepreneurs of color who continue to face discrimination in access to capital.”

Sanders also calls for $ 10 billion in grants to help spur businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by those living in areas disproportionately impacted by the drug war, or individuals who have been arrested for marijuana offenses. Meanwhile, a Department of Agriculture grant program that would help drug war victims and former pot convicts start urban and rural marijuana growing operations, and a community development fund to help drug addiction, would also each receive $ 10 billion.

“We will also direct agencies to remove all references to marijuana that limit people’s ability to access government services and we will eliminate the consequences of a marijuana record related to immigration,” the plan promises.

Outside of Joe Biden, the vast majority of Democratic presidential hopefuls have stated support of nationwide legalization, but Sanders’s specific plans for the use of marijuana revenue adds some depth to his promises, even if the plan didn’t include a timeline for fulfilling all of his pledges.


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Ask a Stoner: Can I Sneak Weed Through An Airport Body Scan?

Dear Stoner: Will an airport body scan identify edibles and a small slice of wax? That seems like a better alternative than my toiletry bag, which will get an X-ray.
Allen

Dear Allen: What do you think those body scans are, Bub? An ocular pat-down from a bored Transportation Security Administration agent? Although not technically X-rays, the millimeter-wave scanners at most airports use radio waves to see if any objects are stowed away under your clothes or in your body before you pass through security.

Ask a Stoner: Can I Sneak Weed Through An Airport Body Scan?

Images from these body scans aren’t as defined as X-rays, but they don’t have that much to sift through besides clothes, unlike a bag filled with your crap. And trust me: TSA agents are much more keen to check out anything extra they find on your person than they are a few innocent-looking gummies in a bag or wax in your toiletries. Hiding some food with weed in it or some gunky-looking wax isn’t exactly rocket science, but hiding in plain sight is not the way to go here. Figure out something better.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


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Ask a Stoner: The Origins of “Pot” and “Weed”

Dear Stoner: Where do the words “pot” and “weed” come from?
Kev

Dear Kev: The nomenclature for cannabis can get pretty creative (the Drug Enforcement Administration has some particularly funny definitions and descriptions), but “pot” and “weed” are the most widely used nicknames in the United States, along with “marijuana.” That word, a variation of the Mexican-Spanish “marihuana,” actually has a negative connotation for some; the bad feelings stem from a theory that “marijuana” was used by the federal government to tie Mexican immigrants to an anti-cannabis movement almost a century ago.

Ask a Stoner: The Origins of "Pot" and "Weed"

Jacqueline Collins

The word “pot” also has Spanish roots, but they’re not as nefarious. Gaining popularity in the ’30s, the nickname is a condensed version of “potiguaya” or “potaguaya,” which are short for potación de guaya, a wine or brandy steeped with cannabis buds; in English, potación de guaya means “drink of grief.” Calling the plant “weed” is more American. That word started appearing in articles and songs in the ’30s as well, used to described marijuana cigarettes. But both “pot” and “weed” came after good ol’ “reefer.”

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Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


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Ask a Stoner: Is Weed Considered Kosher?

Dear Stoner: I was recently celebrating Jewish New Year, and my family and I began wondering if cannabis can be kosher? What about edibles?
Joe

Dear Joe: Happy New Year! If you want to celebrate your next Rosh Hashanah with reefer and feel strongly about respecting your religion, there do appear to be some safety nets or loopholes. Keeping kosher means that no products or ingredients from non-kosher animals or other substances proscribed by Jewish law are used. In a vacuum, cannabis is just vegetation and so appears to qualify. But if you consider growing nutrients and cannabis product additives, then things might not be so kosher.

Smoking cannabis could find a gray area in the Jewish faith, but eating has more challenges.

Smoking cannabis could find a gray area in the Jewish faith, but eating has more challenges.

Jacqueline Collins

The answer also depends on the rabbi you ask. Although some rabbis still consider cannabis a forbidden substance, an influential rabbi once told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that smoking cannabis “isn’t not kosher,” while the Times of Israel reported that a rabbi proclaimed marijuana okay for medical reasons. Edibles, obviously, are another story, as they can contain cooking and diary products from animals that may not be kosher. There are several cannabis edible companies that claim to have kosher certification, but we’re not aware of any in Colorado. Easy answer: Make your own and keep things kosher.

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Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


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Need a Celebrity to Promote Your Weed Brand? There’s an Athlete for That.

Society has a complicated and sometimes conflicted relationship with professional athletes, but if there’s anything about jocks that we all want to emulate, it’s those hot, chiseled bods.

Our opportunities to gain those physiques traditionally have started with buying shoes or training equipment endorsed by current all-stars, but now retired athletes have entered the fray, pushing everything from oddly shaped sneakers to copper-infused bracelets. I grew up knowing Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas as the Big Hurt, a mountain of a man who yawned while jacking dingers across Lake Michigan. Today younger generations know him more for his big dick, jacking wives from their husbands in a Nugenix commercial.

Retired athletes recently found one more honey hole for their spokesperson services, as hemp and marijuana become more mainstream. Ex-NBA or NFL players opening weed dispensaries or starting infused products brands are actually nothing new — Cliff Robertson, Floyd Landis, LenDale White and Al Harrington have all founded cannabis companies or dabbled in partnerships with the industry, and lesser-known retired players have made a career out of advocating cannabis use, hitting the talk-show and conference circuit for speaking gigs — but those opportunities pale in comparison with what the CBD industry is offering right now.

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Former Denver Broncos great Terrell Davis, a pitchman for a CBD-infused sports drink, has said that he thinks his injury-shortened career might have lasted longer had he taken CBD during his playing days. Last month, lovable meathead and Super Bowl champion tight end Rob Gronkowski said that CBD had “fixed” symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (also known as CTE, a condition considered untreatable) brought on by concussions from football, a claim that drew a lot of criticism for its lack of scientific backing.

In June, retired NBA star Paul Pierce announced that he was launching his own CBD line, following in the footsteps of ex-NBA players Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes, ex-NFLers Ricky Williams and Kyle Turley, and former Colorado Avalanche enforcer Scott Parker. Even the guy who played Squints in The Sandlot has a CBD brand.

Former Denver Bronco Terrell Davis announced his partnership with a CBD drink earlier this year.

Former Denver Bronco Terrell Davis announced his partnership with a CBD drink earlier this year.

Aaron Thackeray

Having an athlete with a household name isn’t necessarily the point, explains Cannabis Marketing Association founder Lisa Buffo. It’s about the credentials that come with that name.

“The analogy I can best think of is a Nike shoe: It’s a performance-enhancing product. When I see an ad for an athlete using Nike shoes, I think that if it works for them on court, then it’ll work for me. It works the same for CBD,” she says. “Athletes are known for pushing their bodies to extreme limits. They’re known for pain, and they’re known for recovery.”

But starting a cannabis brand with a famous face doesn’t always guarantee success in such a fragmented market that is still largely based on commodities rather than brands, according to a recent VICE article.

“It seems everyone wants to start a weed brand now,” Buffo says. “That fame could help initially, in terms of publicity, connections and starting wealth, but it usually only works if the product is related to what made them famous.”

Pushed mainly in the wellness community, CBD has shown the potential to help with pain, anxiety and inflammation — all of which professional athletes deal with on a much greater basis than us regular folk. Despite the lack of federal regulation (and legality), CBD wellness products are now embraced by the supplement community, and a stroll through any GNC store will show you how much dietary and wellness supplement companies love athletes.

It goes without saying that currently employed professional athletes can’t partner with dispensaries or THC brands, but CBD and hemp are also virtually off limits for players in the big four American leagues (the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL) because of their close relation to marijuana. However, individual athletes such as golfers, martial artists, endurance and extreme sports competitors are now a target, as are sports media personalities.

CBDistillery, a Denver-based CBD company, employs professional MMA athletes, surfers and power lifters, but it hasn’t stopped there. Earlier this year, CBDistillery sent products to ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt in hopes of a shout-out, which is exactly what Van Pelt gave during one of his podcasts. As the company’s public-relations coordinator, Eli Rice, points out, CBD companies are still limited by advertising laws and media policies regarding cannabis, so they get creative with marketing.

“We have a number of sponsored athletes and brand ambassadors, and are always on the lookout for new partnership opportunities. We heard on TV that Scott was interested in CBD, and jumped at the opportunity to send him product,” Rice says. “We were excited to hear him talk about our products on his podcast, as well, and are continuing to send him additional items in hopes that we can establish some type of relationship with him and potentially other ESPN personalities in the future.”

So CBD can not only give me a hot bod, but it’ll also make me a better journalist? Game on!


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What to Do if Your Dog Eats Weed Edibles

Some of us might have a friend whose pet accidentally ate a pot brownie once, but a veterinary hospital in Denver recently reported a significant rise in dogs coming in after ingesting marijuana edibles. Alameda East Veterinary Hospital used to see seventeen dogs a year for marijuana sickness, but since marijuana became legalized, it’s now increased to seventeen dogs a month, according to staff.

What causes dogs to become so sick from edibles? Dr. Jamie Gaynor of Peak Performance Veterinary Group says it’s hard for veterinarians to tell how much THC a dog has ingested, and that some ingredients in edibles are potentially lethal for dogs. “People don’t know how much of an edible the dog has gotten into, whether it’s one edible or a whole bag of edibles,” he explains. “Chocolate or xylitol are common ingredients in edibles, and are also toxic to the dog.”

Add in the effects of cannabis, which gets dogs much higher than humans, and you’ve got one more thing to keep out of reach of your furry friends. To make sure your pets are safe from any dangers of marijuana consumption, we asked Gaynor how to realistically keep edibles away from dogs, and what to do in case they eat some.

Keep edibles stored in high places
The rule “Keep out of reach of children” is often applied to dogs, too. Edibles placed at the back of the kitchen counter or in the middle of the dining table might keep edibles at bay from smaller dogs, but likely won’t be far away enough for bigger, hungry dogs.

“An upper cabinet makes it easier to keep your edibles stored,” Gaynor says. “Neither a small or large dog would be able to get into it and try to ingest them.”

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It’s also important to remember to put away any leftover edibles right after eating them, and before the effects kick in — because we all know how much stoned people like to clean up.

If your dog eats an edible
If you notice right away that your dog ate an edible, call your veterinarian to determine the best way to help the dog vomit and avoid further problems. Hydrogen peroxide is one way to induce vomiting for your dog; just be sure to calculate how much you need based on your dog’s weight.

If it’s too late, and your dog is showing signs of marijuana ingestion — exhaustion, wobbly legs or urinary incontinence — contact a veterinarian so they can provide supportive care. There’s no reversal for THC in the dog’s system, but a veterinarian can make sure that dogs ride out the effects with the proper medical attention they need.

Caring for a high dog
Once dogs have ingested marijuana, their body functions could be affected for over a day. Monitor them as they walk, especially if your house has stairs or they like to jump on furniture; it’s best to keep them in a safe place until your veterinarian appointment. Closing off certain areas is useful to keep them from injuring themselves, but the best way to make sure they’re safe is constant supervision. You’ll also want to monitor and possibly assist them in going to the bathroom, and making sure they don’t go inside the house.

“Direct supervision is the best way to make sure they’re safe,” says Gaynor. “You never know what your dog can get into in the two minutes you’re gone to get a glass of water.”

Keeping dogs in smaller, confined areas where they can’t hurt themselves, like a laundry room, makes it easier to ensure they won’t hurt themselves, Gaynor adds.


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Colorado Weed Prices Keep Fluctuating in 2019

After over a year of free-falling, marijuana prices are on the rise in Colorado, according to the state Department of Revenue. But several marijuana producers say those prices could be even higher than the state estimates.

According to the latest DOR estimates, wholesale marijuana flower is currently about $ 1,000 per pound, increasing by 17.5 percent from July to September, with trim, flower and whole plant matter allocated for extraction all rising in cost, as well. However, wholesale marijuana growers and dispensary general managers are telling us that wholesale flower prices are actually closer or above $ 1,300, and have been steadily rising all year.

According to the state’s estimates, prices are still getting much higher. In October 2018, a pound of flower was less than $ 760, past DOR figures show, or 24 percent lower than it is now. These rising wholesale prices have led to customers paying more for flower and concentrate at dispensaries, so don’t be surprised if those $ 15 eighths are now $ 20.

Why the increased costs? Industry sources we’ve talked to point to a number of reasons, including rising microbial issues in commercial grows, major suppliers limiting output, and new regulations that have changed how dispensaries stock their shelves — all of which, if true, could lead to supply shortages.

There have been reported supply shortages across the state. Dispensary general managers have been calling wholesale producers around the clock, worried their dispensary’s internal cultivations won’t supply enough to meet demand. 

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Seasons can also impact marijuana supply fluctuation. Although largely grown indoors, commercial pot is still a seasonal commodity, as a large chunk of flower and plant material designated for extraction come from outdoor growing operations. Because outdoor harvests only happen once a year, the supply traditionally dries up toward the end of summer and is replenished in October and November.

“You could get a pound for about $ 700 eight months ago,” one dispensary manager says. “I suspect that prices will drop greatly once the outdoor harvest starts coming in around October.”

If prices are still high around Christmas, this might be more than a phase.


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Israeli Hydroponic Company Claims Machine Grows Weed For You

Growing cannabis is a rare legal entitlement enjoyed by Colorado residents, but the time and know-how to cultivate good pot is just as scarce for most of us. For potential home growers constantly on the go with travel and work, an Israeli hydroponic company says it has a machine that handles all the hard work for you.

Seedo Lab‘s automatic growing device could enable anyone with a smartphone to grow cannabis — or vegetables, flowers, leafy greens and plenty of other vegetation — after connecting the hermetically sealed grow box with a smartphone app.

According to the company, beginners at home don’t have to worry about being an expert or having the traditional amount of needed basement space. The Israel-based tech team designed the product specifically for those wanting to enter the home-growing game and enjoy privacy while growing weed, tomatoes and other plants.

“Until today, only consumers willing to put forth significant time and monetary efforts to growing their own cannabis could succeed via trial and error, and much-required knowledge,” Seedo executives Anat Tadmor and Avi Rosenbaum say in an email to Westword. “We truly simplify the process with the complete growing automation.”

According to the Seedo, all users have to do is pair the device with the Seedo app on their smartphones, install growing accessories such as water, nutrients and an air filter, and then choose a growth plan on the app (cannabis has its own specific growing plan). After that, the user plants the seeds, and the machine takes care of air conditioning, CO2 levels, lighting and the rest.

Inside of one of Seedo's new grow spaces.

Inside of one of Seedo’s new grow spaces.

Courtesy of Seedo Labs

The box automatically scans the plant every few hours, analyzing factors such as moisture and plant height
to adjust the environment for proper feeding and growth. Through the app, users are regularly updated on the status of the plant and when to harvest it.

“The Seedo device has wi-fi capabilities, and the app pairs with the device and connects to our server/cloud containing all grow protocols,” Tadmor and Rosenbaum explain.

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The box can grow up to five plants at once, which adheres to the personal cannabis-growing laws in Colorado. According to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, adults 21 and up are allowed to grow six plants each (a maximum of twelve per household), with half of that maximum allotment allowed to be in blooming stage at any given time.

Colorado home growers must also keep their cannabis in an enclosed, locked area where the plant cannot be viewed openly or accessed by minors. Seedo’s machine checks off virtually every box in state home-growing laws, as it keeps the cannabis in an enclosed space and the box is lockable.

At less than three feet tall, the box’s forty-inch height (which also includes top and bottom space allocated for electrical and growing equipment) would’t allow for the tallest plants in the world — many sativas like to stretch farther than that — but indicas and certain hybrid strains tend to grow shorter.

“We aimed for a sleek, elegant, high-tech-looking design that will have a clear separator between traditional grow tents and grow boxes in the market,” Tadmor and Rosenbaum say. “Our technology allows for pesticide-free automated growing, from seed to harvest, of vegetable plants, herbs and cannabis.”


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Ask a Stoner: Should I Be Worried About Mold in My Weed?

Dear Stoner: Is mold really that big of a problem? Are there any DIY testing methods to avoid smoking moldy weed?
Mushmouth

Dear Mushy: According to a report from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division in 2018, around 15 percent of flower samples submitted to lab testing failed microbial (mold and yeast) testing that year. Add in the fact that the majority of cannabis recalls over the past eighteen months have been for microbials, not pesticides, and we’d say that mold and mildew are quite a problem for legal pot.

Buddies Wellness had plants riddled with mites and mold in July 2017, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Buddies Wellness had plants riddled with mites and mold in July 2017, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Denver Department of Environmental Health

Methods used by state-certified testing labs aren’t procedures you can exactly duplicate at home, but a solid microscope can spot the hard-to-find microbials and spider mites that the naked eye won’t. Your eyes alone can spot a variety of fuzzy molds and discolored forms of bud rot, though. Such glaring contaminants are uncommon in Colorado’s licensed market nowadays, but that doesn’t mean the cannabis is necessarily clean. We’ve seen a handful of suspect ways to burn off or conceal mold and mildew from testing samples, and there are even state-approved machines that “decontaminate” cannabis that fails microbial testing.

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Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


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Does Amazon Drug Test for Weed?

Yesterday I wrote about a Florida grocer called Publix and outlined their drug testing policy.  Moving on to larger, global companies, today I’ll speak about a company that needs no introduction, and that’s Amazon.com.  If your working in Amazon, or trying to get a job in the company, you are probably wondering if they conduct drug tests. Today I’m going to talk all about Amazon’s drug testing policies so you are familiar with the work environment the company tries to promote.

But before that, if you are a substance user, you might probably want to check out Test Clear, a site where you can find plenty of products that help you pass random drug tests. You’re probably going to need a few of these products if you’re planning to work at Amazon or anywhere else as big as the company.

How Does Drug Testing at Amazon Work?

So does Amazon drug test? Yes, it does. Amazon will drug test you in two instances. They randomly test existing employees and also have a pre-employment test. So if you’re going to work at the company, be prepared because a drug test will happen before you get hired.

Here’s how their pre-employment drug test works. They will interview you first and if you are a suitable candidate for the company, they will send you an acceptance letter along with a document that you must sign. This document lists their drug testing policies and you must agree to adhere to their rules if you want to work. A drug test awaits you as soon as you sign this document.

But here’s the real problem, Amazon takes away the document from you when you sign it and they don’t give you a copy of it. This means there are no real means of finding out their drug policies after you have signed the document. So make sure to read it carefully. I do have a few acquaintances working in Amazon and they have confirmed that the company does conduct random drug tests.

Amazon is a publicly-traded company and it is a big company. This means they have a lot on the line and have to ensure that a safe working environment is provided to all the employees, this includes making sure no one is taking drugs while working for the company.

Unlike other companies, Amazon never reveals the methods it uses to drug test its employees. Sometimes the management simply calls your name on the loudspeaker and ask you to come to the office in the next 90 seconds and give a mouth swab drug test. Sometimes they tell you to come to the office next working day for a urine drug test.

If they call you for a mouth swab test, you really don’t have enough time to do anything. I highly recommend getting a mouth detox product which ensures that bacteria and controlled substance residue is removed from your mouth.

And if it is a urine test, then you can get a pack of synthetic urine and you’re good to go. Since the methods are random, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary products at hand so that whenever a drug test comes up, you can immediately use the product to pass the test.

The random and pre-employment drug tests are either 5 or 10-panel drug tests. If it is a 5-panel test, you can easily pass it using most products listed on the site I gave you.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Why Vaping Weed is Better than Smoking It?

People use marijuana for different purposes. Weed lovers just want to get “high”. Some people want to relieve the symptoms of some disease or condition as cannabis is claimed to help with sleep disorders, regulate insulin production, reduce social anxiety and depression, relieve multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other forms of pain. There’re also users who pursue both mentioned goals.

No matter what drives you to use marijuana, you may wonder what is the best way to inhale it is: smoking or vaping? Let’s see.

What way of inhaling marijuana has a better effect?

You’ll see for yourself when you try a weed vape pen on Vapingdaily, that vaporizing marijuana differs from your usual way of smoking it. And the effects are faster.

A group of scientists studied the effects of smoked and vaporized cannabis in 2016. They recruited 17 adults who had experience of marijuana smoking, but not in the month prior to the study’s launch.

The experiment lasted 6 weeks. Each participant had one smoking or vaping session per week. THC doses were of 0 mg, 10 mg, and 25 mg, with the 0-mg dose being the control point.

After each session, physiological changes in the participants were examined. They also filled a questionnaire to self-report their experience and completed 3 computerized tasks designed to measure attention span, memory, physical reaction time and motor movement.

Both 10mg and 25mg got the users quite stoned. But it turned out that when being vaped, the same doses of cannabis resulted in significantly stronger subjective drug effects, higher blood THC levels, and slower cognitive and psychomotor performance.

What are the health advantages of vaping cannabis over smoking it?

If compared to smoking, vaporizing is a much safer way to consume marijuana. It has two bonuses for your health.

1. Vapor is cleaner than smoke.

Smoking occurs at a minimum of 230°C. A joint burns at much higher temperatures which may reach 600-900°C.

When weed burns in the joint, the chemical bonds between organic molecules and carbon atoms are broken apart and “free radicals” are generated. These components create a lot of different harmful toxins, including carcinogens. Thus, 88% of the compounds that are emitted into the smoke are not cannabinoids and terpenes.

Regular weed smoking leads to the tar build up in the lungs, similar to tobacco smoking. This may lead to respiratory health problems.

Vaporizing cannabis doesn’t produce the toxins that smoking does, because the plant matter doesn’t burn but is heated up. A vape pen for weed operates at 160-230°C. The vapor from cannabis contains about 94% cannabinoids, 5% flavonoids (beneficial plant pigments) and about 1% of aromatic hydrocarbon (an organic compound containing carbon and hydrogen).

2. Vaping has less impact on the lungs.

Whether from tobacco, cannabis, or wood, smoke is harmful to your lungs. As mentioned above, carcinogens and other toxic chemicals are released during the combustion of materials.

Moreover, marijuana smokers take larger puffs, inhale more deeply, and hold their breath longer when compared to those who use weed pens. This leads to greater exposure.

Research shows that regular marijuana smoking injures the cell linings of the large airways. That’s why smokers experience chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and bronchitis.

Given that vapor is cleaner that smoke, it’s more loyal to your throat and lungs. However, vaping is still not well-researched. So, there may be potential risks to the heath we don’t yet know about. To stay on the safe side, vape in moderation.

Are there any additional pluses?

Aside from the health benefits, vaping surpasses smoking in the following aspects:

  • No “high”

THC and CBD are two active marijuana compounds that contribute to the plant’s therapeutic properties. The difference in effect is the only – unlike THC, CBD doesn’t produce psychoactive effects. In other words, it doesn’t make you “high”.

Some people avoid smoking medical marijuana because it impairs their coordination and reaction time. They only want to reap weed’s health benefits and keep a clear state of mind at the same time. Thanks to vaping CBD oil, they can have this opportunity. CBD is derived from the marijuana plant and mixed with a carrier oil (hemp seed or coconut) to create CBD oil.

  • Convenience

A weed pen allows setting different temperatures. This makes it easier to reach the desired intensity of high. For example, to reach a mellow high, set your device at 150°C. To increase the potency, set the temperature of 166-187°C. But don’t go higher than 229°C which is a near-combustion temperature. You’ll reduce the elimination of cannabinoids.

Vaporizing marijuana isn’t as smelly as smoking it. Moreover, vapor dissipates faster than smoke. So, you won’t attract unwanted attention if you happen to vape in public.

  • Cost-efficiency

As soon as you light a joint, the flame begins to destroy the blunt and everything in it, even when you are not taking a hit. And when you do, it burns even faster. Vaping gives more control. You set the temperature and can switch your vaporizer off. Both these features make a substantial impact on the cost of your marijuana vape session.

  • Availability

Access to medical marijuana involves getting a doctor’s prescription. When it comes to cannabis products made for vaporizing, many of us can buy weed online for our cannabis vaporization without any problems.

Generally, online stores only ask visitors to verify the age by clicking on “I’m older than 21” icon. And after that, you can choose the best vape pen for weed and marijuana products, such as dry herb, oil, or wax. Besides, CBD oil is completely legal as it contains no more than 0.3% THC.

Keep in mind that the use of marijuana may cause side effects. This is especially true for conventional or “street” weed that might contain harmful fungus and/or pesticides. It can be dangerous for people with a compromised immune system. When it comes to treatment with marijuana, it’s better to visit a doctor, get a prescription, and buy the product at a reliable supplier.

BIO:
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Robert Mayers was born and raised in Atlanta. A writer and a reader in one person and a big lover what he does.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

How Humidity Can Save or Destroy Your Weed

Some of us like our weed to be so dry that it ignites under sunlight, making that first hit a knockout. But most cannabis users want their stash to last. That’s where humidity comes in.

While many people curse humidity in the heat of summer, it plays a key role in preserving the quality of cannabis during storage. As anyone who’s kept a bag of weed for more than a few days knows, nugs can dry out fast without proper storage, but they can lose their flavor and potency, too. We caught up with Sean Knutsen, president of Boveda, a company that makes humidity-control packs for weed jars, to learn more about effective stash storage.

Westword: Boveda reminds me of those freshness packs in beef jerky bags. Similar concept?

Sean Knutsen: Many natural products are best stored or maintained within a controlled environment. Those freshness packs (desiccants) in your beef jerky are designed to absorb as much moisture as possible, aka one-way humidity control. Boveda is two-way humidity control technology for cannabis, which adds consistency and precision to the storage environment. Instead of just absorbing as much moisture as possible like a dessicant does, Boveda precisely controls the environment to a specific level of relative humidity (RH). This means that more than just eliminating moisture, Boveda delivers the best or preferred humidity level. For products like cannabis or hand-rolled cigars, that means both quality and safety are preserved.

Why is humidity control important for cannabis users? What if I’m someone who finishes my stash weekly?

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We have done a lot of testing around how evaporation can degrade cannabis, hemp and other natural products. The results may surprise you — even hours can matter. Perfectly preserved cannabis can lose or gain ten-plus points in moisture content in a day or less. A sure sign of this effect can be measured by the volume of aroma coming off the bud into your container’s headspace. That smell comes from the terpenes that are evaporating from the trichome part of the flower. This is the good stuff you want to keep for your experience! For medicinal or microdose applications, this lost potency can significantly impact the medicinal benefits of that strain.

In my earlier days, some of my friends just threw their jars of weed in the shower to moisten them up. What’s wrong with doing that?

Ahh, those kids… Cannabis always needs to be stored in environments below 65 percent RH to remain safe for consumption. Anytime cannabis is exposed to humidity levels above 65 percent, it is at risk of mold and microbial contamination. Our testing shows that exposing cannabis to high humidity for even a few hours can take it from dry to being at risk of mold propagation in less than a day. The scary part is that mold is difficult to see, and consuming moldy cannabis can introduce a significant health risk to even healthy individuals — not to mention the added risk for medical cannabis consumers such as those with compromised immune systems.

What’s the right level of moisture a bud should have? At what point does it get too dry?

Industry standards have identified 55 to 65 percent RH to be the safest and most optimal range to store cannabis. We found that the negative effects of evaporation on cannabis potency and quality begin around 50 percent RH. What is “too dry” is difficult to define — the factors we recognize as important to most consumers are potency and smoking experience. The evaporation that occurs below 55 percent RH is compromising potency and quality every day the flower is at those levels. Most strains also begin to deliver a harsh taste or experience as they continue to lose moisture below 50 percent RH.

Beyond just evaporation impacting potency, as the bud dries, its trichomes, which hold the terpenes and cannabinoids, become brittle and are prone to breaking off, leaving the consumer less of the good stuff. We advocate storing cannabis in that safe zone below 65 percent RH and above 50 percent RH. Going lower begins to compromise the experience.

How are tobacco and cannabis products similar or different when it comes to humidity control? Should cannabis smokers start thinking about cigar rooms or boxes now?

They are more alike than you may think. Both need to be spared from the negative effects of evaporation. Cigars can lose the sugars and oils that define their flavor profile, and cannabis can lose the terpenes and cannabinoids that produce the flavor and effect. When stored in environments that are too humid, both are prone to mold and microbial growth. For the real cannasseur, a cannador would make a great gift! Similar to cigar humidors, cannadors are constructed out of wood and are designed to breathe. They are made out of aromatic wood that is designed to enhance the flavors of their contents. Cannadors are great ways to show off your best buds and often double as useful rolling stations. Also, similar to cigar humidors, there needs to be a two-way humidity control solution to ensure that buds are kept both fresh and safe.

On top of humidity control, how can someone save a certain strain of flower for a long time? Any other best practices?

Beyond too high or low moisture levels, we believe that exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures and oxygen pose the biggest threats to the long-term storage of cannabis. We recommend containers like CVault and Re:stash for people who are looking to preserve their buds over months or years. Both brands provide airtight, light-proof storage that is also designed to hold Boveda packets for two-way humidity control.


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