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Tag: Texas Hemp Reporter

Did the DEA’s new rule confirm hemp-derived Delta-8 THC is illegal?

By: Andrea Steel and Lisa Pittman

On August 21, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (the “DEA”) published a rule regarding the scheduling of hemp and marijuana, effective immediately (the “Rule”). The cannabis community swiftly reacted with an interpretation that this Rule outlawed Delta-8 THC, the hemp industry’s new favorite cannabinoid. The impact is that if Delta-8 THC is, in fact, a Schedule I controlled substance, the threat of felonious criminal prosecution would thwart the commercial viability of this cannabinoid. We dug into the Rule and other materials, and we disagree with the “now illegal” conclusion. Instead, we theorize that so long as the Delta-8 is derived from cannabis that meets the definition of hemp, it does not appear to be illegal under the federal CSA and we don’t believe the DEA Rule alters this.

What Does the DEA Rule Say?

The DEA repeatedly stresses throughout the publication that the Rule’s purpose is to simply codify what was already changed via the 2018 Farm Bill: “This interim final rule merely conforms DEA’s regulations to the statutory amendments to the CSA that have already taken effect, and it does not add additional requirements to the regulations.”
The Rule states there are only four conforming changes:

The definition of “Tetrahydrocannabinols” on Schedule I of the official “Schedule of Controlled Substances” (21 CFR 1308) is modified to carve out “any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that falls within the definition of hemp” (as defined in the 2018 Farm Bill). What does this mean?

Regardless of what any product label may say (i.e., “hemp” or otherwise), if a product has more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, it is a controlled substance. Regardless of being hemp-derived, if the derivative, extract or product has more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, it is a controlled substance. None of these changes, alters or affects the FDA’s jurisdiction over products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds. Naturally occurring THCs in cannabis are not controlled substances so long as they are at or under the 0.3% Delta-9 THC threshold. Any of those that are above the 0.3% Delta-9 THC threshold are controlled substances. Synthetically derived THCs are all controlled substances, regardless of THC content.

Essentially removes Epidiolex (and any generics the FDA may subsequently approve) from control in schedule V (21 CFR 1308). Also removes the requirement for import and export permits for Epidiolex (and any future generics). The definition of “Marihuana Extract” on Schedule I is modified to be limited to extracts “containing greater than 0.3 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis.” What does this mean?

Regardless of whether the extract comes from hemp or marijuana, if it exceeds the 0.3% threshold, it is illegal. It is important to point out that this definition, even before the Rule, includes the following exception: “other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.”

The Rule reiterates these changes were already mandated under the 2018 Farm Bill: “DEA’s regulatory authority over any plant with less than 0.3% THC content on a dry weight basis, and any of the plant’s derivatives under the 0.3% THC content limit, is removed as a result.”

What is Delta-8 THC and is it legal?

Our clients frequently ask us about the legality of Delta-8 THC and our view has been that the cannabinoid, if derived from hemp and the end product remains at or below Delta-9 THC, then the substance is likely legal, but to keep in mind that Delta-8 (when not derived from hemp) is on the controlled substances schedule and the government probably did not intend to create a pathway to legally get high from THC, so be prepared for the law to change at any moment. Delta-8 THC is one of hundreds of cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. Delta-9 THC is the most widely known cannabinoid and causes a psychotropic reaction felt as an intoxicating “high.” Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is nowhere near as well known and has been gaining in popularity over the last year, largely due to its alleged ability to have a substantially different and significantly less intoxicating but still mind-altering effect. There is also research dating back to 1975 regarding its potential for treating cancer and other studies exist showing various potential health benefits (see here, here and here).

As mentioned, the DEA does include Delta-8 THC on its list of controlled substances (updated August 2020) under “tetrahydrocannabinols,” but the 2018 Farm Bill expressly carved out “tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp” (See Section 12619(b) of the 2018 Farm Bill the very last provision of the entire bill). This carve out indicates any type of THC from a cannabis plant with Delta-9 THC at or below 0.3% is legal (at the federal level). It is important to note there may be states with more restrictive laws that do criminalize Delta-8 THC, even when derived from hemp. There may also be states where marijuana-derived Delta-8 THC is legal (but illegal at the federal level).

We don’t believe the USDA intended to create a mechanism for people to legally get high, but the focus on hemp has been the Delta-9 THC concentration, because of its known psychotropic effects. Delta-8 THC may have gone under the radar, but perhaps not. The DEA doesn’t schedule every substance that produces mind-altering effects, such as kratom.

Is hemp-derived Delta-8 THC synthetically derived?
The DEA Rule published on Friday repeatedly states that it is merely conforming other statutes to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill so the laws are consistent. The language in the Rule causing uproar is this:

“The [2018 Farm Bill] does not impact the control status of synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols (for Controlled Substance Code Number 7370) because the statutory definition of “hemp” is limited to materials that are derived from the plant Cannabis sativa L. For synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols, the concentration of Δ9-THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances.” (emphasis added).

Where people are getting caught up is the term “synthetically derived.” Delta-8 is a phytocannabinoid naturally existing in the cannabis plant – it is organically derived. Its natural occurrence is too low to be extracted outright, but – and we do not claim to be chemists – it is our understanding there is an isomerization process that can take place to convert CBD to Delta- 8 THC. Isomerization is the transformation of one isomer into another, isomers being molecules with the same molecular formula, but having a different arrangement of the atoms in space. We don’t believe that isomerization converts a phytocannabinoid into a synthetic one in the manner “synthetic” is used by the DEA. The 2018 Farm Bill definition of hemp includes all “isomers” of hemp. Therefore, any isomer of a hemp plant is also hemp and, pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill, does not fall under the Controlled Substances Act (the “CSA”).

We believe the reference to “synthetically derived” is referring to a man-made chemical, not a process by which someone at a lab isomerizes one organic molecule to another (i.e., CBD to Delta-8 THC). If the concept that any material formed from any sort of human controlled chemical action taking place means that material is “synthetically derived,” then that would mean all of the hemp-derived products that go through processing are synthetic, and that is simply not the case. This article does a good job explaining the differences between synthetically derived cannabinoids, biosynthesis, and plant-based extraction. The first two take place without the plant at all. It does not seem feasible to conclude that isomerization of a hemp-cannabinoid equates to material becoming “synthetically derived.”

Synthetic cannabinoids (“SCs”) that the DEA targets are products like Spice and K2 (recall several years ago when the market was proliferated with “fake weed”), which are synthesized in labs to mimic the biological effects of THC. This DEA Fact Sheet on K2/Spice says SCs “are not organic, but are chemical compounds created in a laboratory.” SCs are part of the designer drug market and are typically liquid agents applied on plant material to look like marijuana. They were initially developed by researchers decades ago to study effects on the endocannabinoid system (in the absence of being able to study real cannabis as it has been illegal), but began to enter the consumer market in the U.S. around 2008. The DEA has identified the chemical makeup of various SCs and added them to the list of controlled substances to try to thwart the illicit market, but some actors continue to modify chemical structures to create new unscheduled
SCs as a loophole to the CSA. A history of SCs is laid out in a recent DEA temporary scheduling order. Understanding the background of SCs is important because of how the legislature intended the term as it used in the CSA and how the DEA has historically treated these inorganic, lab-created chemicals that attempt to mimic THC and skirt the CSA. We have also looked up several federal cases that discuss SCs and the bulk of those relate to products like Spice and K2, as mentioned above. We found no federal case law on Delta-8 THC.

What does the 2018 Farm Bill say?

In order to understand what the DEA is doing in this Rule, we need to first understand why they are doing it. That reasoning is found in the 2018 Farm Bill which, in part, defined “hemp” and carved it out of the definition of marijuana in the CSA. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as follows: “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

As mentioned above, the very last section of 2018 Farm Bill amends the CSA and expressly removes tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp” from the list of controlled substances. The 2018 Farm Bill included hemp-derived Delta-8 THC in the definition of hemp as part of the hemp plant and it removed hemp-derived Delta-8 THC from the list of controlled substances as a tetrahydrocannabinol in hemp.

The DEA Rule now follows suit in that it modifies the listing of “tetrahydrocannabinols” on the Schedule of Controlled Substances by adding the following stipulation: “Tetrahydrocannabinols does not include any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that falls within the definition of hemp set forth in [the 2018 Farm Bill].”

This reiterates the notion that so long as the 0.3% Delta-9 THC threshold is met, then the material is hemp. It follows that any derivative THC within such material (so long as the Delta-9 THC concentration is at or below the 0.3% on a dry weight basis) is also hemp and therefore not a controlled substance. The Rule, in modifying this definition brings the Schedule of Controlled Substances in line with what the 2018 Farm Bill mandated.

Final Thoughts:

Delta-8 THC is THC – it is not a lab-created substance with a chemical structurally altered to
mimic its own biological effects. Delta-8 THC is organically derived and is the substance it is intended to be. Delta-8 THC has a substantially different effect on the body than Delta-9 THC that has value in and of itself that has shown promise on many medical fronts. Nonetheless, consumers should be aware of any product being consumed, especially those that are not clearly regulated. There are many ways to process cannabis extracts, some of which use solvents that are dangerous if consumed, so it is crucial for end-products to be tested by a reliable third-party for harmful ingredients, including residual solvents, and have accurate certificates of analysis available.

In Hemp Indus. Ass’n v. DEA (357 F.3d 1012, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 1846), a well-known case from 2004 regarding DEA’s treatment of THC in hemp, the court concluded the DEA could not regulate unscheduled drugs without following proper procedures to do so (a great summary of that case can be found here). The DEA Rule from Friday repeatedly states it is not changing any laws, so even if it wants to come down on hemp-derived Delta-8 THC and re-schedule it, this Rule is not the appropriate avenue to do so.

It is for these reasons we do not believe the DEA Rule altered the legality of hemp-derived Delta-8 THC. However, that doesn’t mean the DEA isn’t trying wrangle it back in or isn’t looking for someone to make an example out of. Being the example, even if the end result is a win, would likely be a lengthy, expensive and potentially traumatizing experience. Proceed accordingly.

Despite the immediate effectiveness of the Rule, comments are being accepted through October 20, 2020. Providing comments during a government rule-making process is a great opportunity to make your voice heard and effect change, and the only way you would have standing to make a legal challenge to the Rule later. If you think the DEA should clarify its position on Delta-8 THC or the “work in progress hemp extract” issues that need to be addressed (another area of significant concern laid out in this article by attorney Rod Kight), make sure to send in comments. Details on how to do so can be found in the Rule, and our attorneys can assist your business with crafting them.


Meet the Texas Cannabis Collective

One Texas cannabis activism group has amassed quite a following in their state and has even caught the attention of national players.

As the Deputy Director of the Texas Cannabis Collective, what exactly is the TCC is a question people have been asking me recently. The easy answer is that it is a project aimed at changing the cannabis laws in Texas and doing so by distribution of  information for the voting public about the state of cannabis affairs in Texas. The true technical answer is something much longer.

The Texas Cannabis Collective came to be a thing in 2016 by Austin Zamhariri

 out of Dallas, Texas. At first the concept started as a Facebook page. As time went on Austin slowly got a website together with a few friends in the cannabis activism space. From there the site started publishing articles about their experiences and views on the Texas legislature. The first article to go up was in late December of 2018 by Austin.

At the beginning of the site’s history Austin touched on things such as the fact that one could be arrested for possessing CBD oil at the time, veterans weighing on medical marijuana and approaches of legislative leadership to cannabis bills. The first 6 months really took off from the 86th legislative session of 2019 providing plenty of information on the changing landscape of Texas. The federal farm bill had just passed towards the end of 2018 and gave Texas room to grow with a new hemp program. Austin’s current wife Sarah and current writer Josh Kasoff were pumping out articles with Austin.

Toward the end of session El Paso NORML director Colt Demorris started contributing as well. Colt brought a distinct view from west Texas during his prime time of writing with

TCC. El Paso being one of the first cities to bring prohibition of cannabis to reality, Colt shined a light on the topic in the town, and was able to give an insight to another state. Colt works at a dispensary across the state line in New Mexico and was able to help Texas patients get the info needed for out of state patients to participate in the NM program. This is also the district which state Rep Joe Moody covers and DeMorris was able to occasionally get insights to legislative goals with cannabis.

June of 2019 was when Jesse joined the TCC as a writer. Jesse had been writing about the legislative side of things on his own site and was invited to write for the TCC. It’s almost the same thing for him writing for the Texas Hemp Reporter.He started with writing about how we would have to research how to objectively measure impairment from cannabis and how bills on a federal level were moving along. After several months of writing for TCC, Jesse became the web administrator for the website and did a complete redesign it. Then, roughly about the start of COVID in 2020 saw Jesse also take on the role of Managing Editor.

In June of 2020 the TCC launched its own social network community called At the time Facebook and other social networks were facing heavy scrutiny from selling user data. On top of that, even to this day Facebook and its subsidiaries along with Twitter and the like are not fond of allowing users to speak openly about their cannabis consumption.

The rules of the software providers for the social network were that no personal information about members and no posted information by members could be shared or sold to a third party. That community is still up and running to this day and serves also as a backup if Facebook decides to nuke the scene, which isn’t uncommon with cannabis pages.

TCC has remained active on reporting the smokable hemp ban case from its beginnings and reported heavily on the 2021 Texas 87th legislative session. Whether it was the filing of bills testimony at the capitol, or even floor hearings, TCC was reporting in person pretty much every step of the way. It even got to the point where national reporting site Marijuana Moment was following the TCC live streams at the capitol to gain information on what was transpiring.

In June of 2021 TCC decided to officially become a non-profit organization. TCC had officially started lobbying within offices alongside the likes of TXNORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana policy at the capitol. The organization wanted to make the paperwork official and become as transparent as possible, so that process began to raise funds to create that official entity on paper.

TCC officially held its first meeting on a monthly basis, in June of 2021. The second meeting was the official kickoff party to Lucky Leaf Dallas 2021, and recently held its third meeting on August 11. TCC will be taking a break for the month of September as uncertainty has arisen given the resurgence of COVID and mask mandates in Dallas County. It’s possible that the next monthly meeting will be a virtual meeting.

TCC hopes that it will be able to not just inform constituents from this point forward, but lawmakers in the state of Texas as well. IT wishes to put businesses that are working towards creating a proper business environment for both businesses and consumers in front of the public and doing alongside other publications and activist groups within the great (it’s a big place) state of Texas. TCC plans to launch its own podcast titled Lonestar Collective within the near future.

Anybody wishing to find TCC online can find them on Facebook at @txcancollective Instagram @txcannabiscollective and Twitter @txcannaco.

TX Hemp Reporter blooming Circulation in Texas, Expanding to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

The Texas Hemp Reporter this November will be blooming itself across the Lone Star State in time for Harvest Season. With the recent expansion of Houston Texas market to receive the September edition, the Austin TX based Cannabis publication is headed north and south this November adding in two more metros totaling over a 1000 smoke shops in Texas. Dallas and San Antonio will begin receiving the free magazine in area CBD stores and smoke shops this holiday season. The expansion is a good thing for the growing Texas cannabis and Hemp market. With recent public awareness about new legislation and readily available medicines , cannabis has a growing fan base with fellow Texans.

The Texas Hemp Reporter is expanding the magazine across the state and will be offering a subscription base option for growers and fans of the industry publication living in more rural areas of the Lone Star State.

The producers of the magazine also host a popular podcast in the Texas arena , The Texas Hemp Show discuses legislative concerns, banking challenges, and often interviews business professionals in the Hemp space around the State. Tommy Chong, Sid Miller, Freeway Rick Ross, and recently Cheech Marin appeared on the podcast that also currently airs on local Talk Radio News Radio 590 KLBJ.

For more information or to advertise your business with the radio show or the magazine reach out to Publisher and Host Russell Dowden at 512-897-7823 or email [email protected] for more details on how to be a guest on the show or have your business profiled in the magazine.

Profiles in Hemp Farming

Eddie Velez, Oak Cliff Cultivators

 Texas Hemp Reporter: Where are you located?

Eddie Velez: Our hemp farm is centrally located in Brady, the heart of Texas.

THR: When did you begin farming?

Eddie: I’m not your typical farmer and I had no farming experience until recently.  In my previous life, I spent 15 years responding to disasters across the country,  with over 10 of those years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region 6, in Denton, TX. 

In early spring of 2020, my wife and I quit our careers, cashed out our retirement, and dove headfirst into the Texas hemp industry.

THR: Is hemp your primary crop?  And what do you produce (pulp, CBD, textiles)?

Eddie: Hemp is our primary and only crop.  We cultivate award-winning hemp flower.  In December of 2020, we won “Best hemp flower in Texas,” at the Taste of Texas Hemp Cup.  Additionally, we won 6 out of 9 categories at the cup, to include: “highest CBD, best indoor, most pungent, most ripe, and final presentation.”

We produce premium CBD and CBG hemp flower.

The Awards Eddie and Oak Cliff took home in the first Annual Taste of Texas Hemp Awards in Wimberley last December.

THR: Do you offer any specialty products you would like to talk about (organic body care, construction materials)?

Eddie: Cultivating Cannabigerol (CBG) has been a great success for us.  CBG is still new to many people and offers a great alternative to CBD.  Unlike CBD, CBG interacts more directly with your body by binding with your CB1 and CB2 receptors and typically has no THC, which opens the door to many clients wanting to use hemp products without the THC. 

Another specialty we have but not necessarily a product, we like to educate and inform our clients about each of our products’ terpene profile and potential beneficial use.

 THR: Can you describe your growing/processing operation?

Eddie: We are a family and veteran-owned Texas hemp company.  We operate a boutique hemp farm, focusing on cultivating exceptional hemp genetic products for your wellness & culinary needs.  Our farm consists of 6,000 sq ft of greenhouse growing space and a 2,000 sq ft indoor climate controlled dry house.  We did a lot of research and visited hemp farms across the country, and we noticed that drying was essential in producing premium hemp flower.  

THR: What are your hopes or expectations for the future of hemp farming?

Eddie: We involve our children in everything we do with the hemp farm – from planting seeds to the finished product.  We hope to instill the knowledge and experience with them, so they can continue to redefine cannabis in Texas.

THR: How have the challenges you encounter every day helped you become a better farmer?

Last year was our first grow and everything was a challenge, from building the greenhouses to go-to-market strategies, to delivering our products.  We’ve asked a lot of dumb questions over the past year which has helped navigate us through those farming challenges.  Building a network and fostering positive relationships has helped us tremendously.  

Eddie Velez, Oak Cliff Cultivators

Texas Medical Marijuana Doctors

Lamont Ratcliff and his team are leading the pack in implementing the recent changes of the Texas Compassionate Use Program through a different segment of his practice at Houston area Wellness Pain & Associates clinics. The Texas Medical Marijuana Doctors was birthed 4 years ago out of a desire to become more educated and politicized in the cause and through alignment with the right organizations across the legislative sessions helped shift the conversation in the state and now taking action.

Ratcliff has served as the owner and director of Wellness Pain & Associates for 18 years providing outpatient chronic pain management to patients primarily in motor vehicle accidents and on the job injuries through various modalities. The company grew from 2 employees initially to 16 to include on site physicians, nurse practitioners, licensed physical and massage therapists, and registered nurses to help facilitate medical services in injury rehabilitation for acute injuries. As their ability to offer alternative treatment services grew, so did the practice under their Chief Medical Director Dr. Mark McBath, an oncologist with MD Anderson for over 25 years. Dr. McBath is among one of the first state approved medical marijuana physicians in Texas who can recommend medical marijuana to qualifying patients under the program. Lamont Ratcliff said of the new choice, “we have been very aggressive in  informing patients that they have the power to choose alternative methods to increase their quality of life” and they will be able to do so under his direction next month.

The latest expansions of the T.CUP program that occurred in this year’s legislative session go into effect September 1st which adds qualifying medical conditions to those with PTSD and full qualification for all cancer patients, not just those with terminal diagnoses. This is now in addition to qualifications for those with epilepsy and seizure disorders, autism, Multiple Sclerosis or spasticity, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, and ALS.

All 3 of his locations – Southwest, metro/downtown, and east side – are booked through October operating 4 day weeks full capacity with limited room available for emergency appointments. Their current patient demographic is about 60% cancer patients, 20% autism, and 20% PTSD with interest coming from far beyond the Houston metro area. As they understand the need for convenience to serve the unrepresented areas of the state, Lamont Ratcliff and his team have worked hard to create a very accessible and fluid process for appointments. Their centralized phone number – (713) 659-HEMP (4367) – is still the best way to obtain an immediate appointment but they also offer additional QR codes and kiosks around the city to not only pre-qualify patients and schedule appointments but educated the public as well. This unique option sets them apart from other physicians allowing a presence for the practice beyond their physical locations.

The group also aims to educate patients on qualifications as well, as many physicians are still very trepidatious with regards to helping qualify for alternative treatments. If the patient already has a diagnosis, TMMD requests supporting documentation from the treating physician. If a diagnosis does not exist, they are trained to ask questions based on the symptoms present and grant qualification where valid for patients needing a more comprehensive diagnosis.

The group also offers extensive continuation of care. The initial visit allows the recommendation with respect to the strain of cannabis best suited to their needs. 6-8 weeks following that is a follow up to review the medication, response to it and any changes if needed and once those are made the next appointment is scheduled in a year.

The T.CUP program is regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Upon entry into the program, the patient receives an official qualifying letter stating that they have been evaluated and that their cannabis use is medically necessary as an alternative treatment. This protects them in any situations where the legality might be otherwise questioned. All of the information is kept in a DPS controlled registry and the patient portal is accessible anywhere needed in a licensed dispute in the state of Texas by law enforcement, or an employer.

The TXMMD team is spearheading this endeavor alongside Lamont Ratcliff in Houston but have plans to quickly expand into 2 offices in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area this October. Ratcliff stresses the need already for politicians to understand the volume of calls from small towns in outlying counties who really need access to this method of care as they are flying in for assistance already. As long as a patient is a Texas resident, no geographic restrictions exist and their metropolitan presence makes that a possibility but they still plan to push for better accessibility in the underrepresented markets for those patients in dire need of an alternative that will work.

“Our main goal is to increase the quality of life of these patients who have already dealt a tough blow in life whether it is cancer, autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, ALS, Parkinson’s etc. If we are able to do anything to assist in their quality of life, that is what we are here for.”

As legislation slowly meets education with cannabis reform in Texas, grassroots proponents for this alternative medicine continue to push the gap closer together and bridge the misrepresentation of the many facets hemp and cannabis can bring this great state.

Hemp Paper in the USA: Part 2

Ken Gibson

Hemp has been used for paper for some 2,000 years, the use of wood pulp is a new concept that has been causing economic and environmental chaos.

At the time of this writing paper in the US is shipped in from southeast Asia, incurring transport costs and adding to the loss of forests. A hemp paper industry in America would provide jobs and lessen the damage to the environment; it would also produce stronger paper, as the hemp papers, being long, interlock and form a more lasting paper.

In my previous article I noted that “cellulose is the most abundant molecule in agriculture”; indeed, it is the basis of our entire economy. It is both the cheapest substance and the most expensive, if one tallies the price of just one fraction of a gram that brought in over $9million at Sothebys. Of course, that was a rare example of a purchase – the 1c Magenta postage stamp from British Guyana, which has passed hands from a boy to a nobleman to a murderer.

But most cellulose products do not have such an illustrious history. They simply go from the farm to the factory to the distributor to the store to the consumer to the rubbish bin.

But in the course of this, livelihoods are made. Jobs are created, and we use pieces of cellulose to transact all of this. We call these pieces money. Some are wont to quote that it does not grow on trees. Ironically, it does. Or at least it is made from trees.

Or most of it is. The US uses about 6% hemp in the greenback, as this plant produces not only a long strand, but the strands fibrillate better than that of other plants, thus creating a more integrated.

Thus our money comes from trees, and in the best-case scenario, trees take seven years to mature. Bowater used to have much of the southeast US covered in pines for this purpose.

Now the trees are grown in southeast Asia, and Americans do not produce their own paper. Each person uses about 200 lbs. The nations needs thus 35 million tons of paper each year.

Which could come from farms in the heartland. And it could be produced once again in America.

This very subject was given thought even before the present crisis and state of dependency on foreign supplies. Government record from 1910-1916 shows

a number of trials conducted by the USDA on paper production which included a study of hurds as a raw material – hurds are 35-70% cellulose, whereas the bast is 70-77% cellulose.

Usually hurds are left to rot as farm waste, but if put to use, with thousands of pounds per acre produced in a season, the economic reality is not hard to see.

The US needs to secure not only paper supplies but water – and that is another reason for growing hemp. Hemp grown for paper not only can reduce the dependency on trees, but also water use in areas where crops such as cotton are grown.  The USDA estimates that 9,461,000 acres of cotton were harvested in the US in 2011—a year in which more than one-third of the nation’s crop was wiped out by severe drought, with farmers in Texas and Oklahoma forced to abandon more than 5 million acres, more than half of what they planted.

I will leave the reader with those statistics and ask that they do the math, while contemplating that same acreage under cultivation for paper. The hemp uses less water and less pesticides. It can be used to create an entire industry, about which we will be studying more of in my next installment.

TO Be Blunt

The moment I went from being a cannabis consumer to a cannabis brand owner, everything shifted. It’s like picking the red pill vs the blue pill, pick the blue pill and you can stay unaffected, unaware, and in contented ignorance. But pick the red pill and you are in for a truthfully rude but rewarding awakening.

That’s exactly how I felt when I launched RESTART CBD in 2018. I was now confronted with having to pick, and once I did, there was no going back.

Growing up I was a cannabis consumer. I was curious, passionate, and quite frankly, a regular. Austin, Texas had some effect on that being the live music capitol that it is. But I was also shielded. While marijuana wasn’t formally legal, our town is known for its relaxed stance on the plant.

Yes, legalization was a trending topic, but I knew it would be a long-shot before Texas got its head into the game. Plus, up until founding my own company, I had employers, and didn’t want to get myself tangled up in cannabis laws and regulations. It seemed daunting to even consider where to begin.

And then in 2015, as a pedestrian, I was hit by a car. I fractured my pelvis in two places and turned to cannabis as medicine. It soothed me and helped me heal, and in particular CBD was the active cannabinoid I accredited a lot of my pain relief to.

So when we launched RESTART CBD, my history with both personal appreciation as well as personal recovery from this plant was the foundation for our brand. But I didn’t go into it thinking this is how I’m going to change the world.

I did, however, know that by telling my story, I could help impact someone else who was on the fence about cannabis. I had short term vision in what would turn into a long term pursuit.

Quickly my one-on-one conversations with consumers began to multiply. I was watching this industry unfold before my eyes, right here in my home state, and I was a helping hand in that development.

I remember thinking early on in 2019, after we had been in business for a few months, wondering what the regulatory process was like and considering how to get involved. I determined that instead of waiting and being reactionary to the industry, I would be proactive and participatory in how things were rolling out.

Now that I was self employed and embarking on this emerging industry in not only Texas, but really in our nation, I decided I would take the red pill and journey into the unknown.

The work that I and others are doing in the industry is extremely important and perhaps this resonates with you as well.

The point that I’m trying to make is we are just in the beginning stages of a very turbulent endeavor. We’ve had smokable bans thrown at us, FDA warnings sent to prevent deviating from the law, and legislative sessions that seem like they’re going to make history for better and for worse all at the same time.

We have also made incredible discoveries of new and emerging cannabinoids. Hemp’s federally legal status has allowed for more cannabis related research on it’s long term effects relating to treatments and diseases.

In my short but deep time in the industry, I’ve learned a lot from running a cannabis business.

There is so much to unpack and understand. The nuances of the industry could keep you up at night. It can be overwhelming, but can also be rewarding. Both for the good and the bad guys.

There will be people who want to make a quick buck, game the system, and exploit cannabinoids to unassuming consumers. I see it happening every day. They exist and will continue to exist. You will have to navigate around them.

But there will also be people who are dedicated to making genuine change in this industry. And I’m a big believer in making the impact in your own backyard. So while it may feel like you’re taking on a mountain, you really just have to focus on your next best step.

Look, I’m not the enforcement agency. I’m truly just a die hard Texan who seeks to see her state have proper cannabis laws. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope for a future where I would have access to continue to sell, work, and educate in an industry that I love.

The hard truth is, we don’t know what the future holds. We can’t project how the politics and policies that govern this plant at a state and federal level will go. But we can sure as hell pull a chair up and ask a lot of questions.

It starts with you.

There are some amazing organizations who are truly dedicated to helping make change happen. I highly recommend getting involved with as many as you can.

Texas NORML has been a key resource from the beginning for me, in keeping me both aware of what is happening, as well as providing me with a path towards action. Another organization that has recently emerged is the Texas Hemp Coalition. As a business, I am in business for the consumer, and as part of that I need to band together with people who are motivated by similar reasons.

Working with both organizations has been integral in helping me be able to leave a mark in an industry that has given me so much.

We can make change, but we have to make the choice to do so first.

Which pill will you take?

This column is an extension of the To Be Blunt podcast, new episodes every Monday at, and I’d love to personally connect with you on IG @theshaydatorabi.

Naturally Hemps: Austin TX

The conversation on Delta 8 has been a continuous hot topic in the state of Texas with many already invested in the hemp-derived product pushing for regulation over prohibition in the vested interest of their companies, the industry and the responsible consumer. Darrell Suriff of Naturally Hemps discussed with Texas Hemp Reporter how Delta-8 and the looming possibility of it’s legal status looks from a company standpoint.

Naturally Hemps is an alternative solutions company under the umbrella of Naturally Distro which operates over 30 retail stores across Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee to include the Austin Vape and Smoke franchise. The company manufactures a large variety of natural CBD, kratom, e juice vape and legal hemp related products out of their 30k square foot main manufacturing facility in Pflugerville. While they offer a variety of product on their name, Delta-8 specifically makes up about 20% of their gross business over the last 12 months moving into the largest growth category in the industry.

As this time period has also seen a tremendous amount of legislative process on the same topic, Suriff says it has been difficult to gauge business around potential legislation. The fluctuation of legality is costly not only as it comprises 20% of his revenue, but in considering the cost of entry into it as a manufacturer is quite extensive regarding liability, machinery, and wages for his 180 employees which all makes a huge impact on their bottom line.

While Delta 8 is fully legal in Tennessee, constant restructuring and vague state law keep him from selling it into his Louisiana stores. There are no clear cut guidelines currently for Delta 8 in our neighboring state and Texas leads between the two on education and communication between state officials and hemp businesses. While Delta 8 is currently still fits into a legal category following the lack of advancement or changes in the hemp bill last legislative session, it’s status still stands on shaky ground.

States that have fully legalized cannabis are historically the ones who try and ban it most as they get taxation on THC but not off of Delta 8. Right now Texas has enacted the Compassionate Use Program effective September 1, 2021 which allows patients access, through their physician, to prescription low-THC cannabis in the treatment of medical conditions like cancer, autism, PTSD, and seizure disorders. The single operating medical marijuana license holder in the state have been the leaders in the ban on Delta 8 which lead many to question if they will simply see taxation on a state level or full market control. A drastic shift in the industry and lawmaking would not only cause large companies like Naturally Hemps to take a massive hit, but consumers as well as Suriff states, “We believe people have a right to self medicate, treat, or relax [with all variations of hemp derivatives] just as they would in a glass or 2 of wine or beer.” And with that statement backs it with the push for regulation beyond minors into consenting responsible adults.

Darrell Suriff himself knows the firsthand benefits it can bring with chronic pain and the success of his business was built on his own personal success story. A little over a decade ago, Suriff suffered a broken back which led to permanent rods placed in his spine and persistent pain. His corporate insurance plan at the time offered many opioids at his disposal which led to a year-long addiction before he discovered the benefits of Kratom, CBD, and, later, Delta-8. He was able to then craft a daily regimen with these products which allowed him to function without pain and without the use of opioids or any other addictive drugs. From there he built his new endeavor of vape retails stores from an initial $26,000 investment into a $70,000,000 empire based on the products that saved his life – all organically with incremental growth.

With full understanding of the scope of all Delta-8 offers, and standing by what his own business and life is built on, Darrell Suriff hold his position alongside many other Texan hemp product manufacturers and retailers who call to maintain a regulated market on the product for the livelihood of Texans all around.

Rodkey’s Health & Wellness:

Rodkey’s Health & Wellness, San Antonio, Tx, I

Charles Rodkey Jr. is a true pioneer in the CBD retail and manufacturing space.  A self-proclaimed plant science savant, Charles had already spent years researching and studying cannabis when he left a successful 20-plus year career in the medical supply industry.  Motivated by a desire to follow his true passion, Charles formulated CBD products designed to grant his mother some much-needed relief from inflammation.  Recognizing the vast market for affordable salves and tinctures, he opened the first exclusive CBD retail store in Texas in 2017.  After enjoying immediate success and expanding the business to a second store, Charles and his family decided to move in a new direction.  They created Structure CBD, which quickly became a well-recognized manufacturing and wholesale brand, while staying active in retail with a combined store and coffee shop-Rodkey’s Health and Wellness.  The proprietary blend of ingredients in his formulations have taken the industry by storm, and he notes with pride that all of his products are manufactured in a Texas-licensed facility right there in his home city of San Antonio.

Texas Hemp Reporter: Can you explain the difference between plant and isolate products?

Rodkey’s Health & Wellness: Whole plant (full spectrum) extracts are going to contain a wide range of plant cannabinoids and terpenes along with trace amounts of THC. CBD Isolate is the isolated CBD molecule with all other cannabinoids and terpenes removed during the refinement process, it is a 99.9%+ pure CBD extract. Isolate products are a better choice for those who have regular drug screens or simply want to stay away from THC in general.

THR: What products do you offer for pets?

Rodkey’s: Rodkey’s carries the Structure CBD Pet line which includes sublingual tinctures and bacon cheeseburger treats.  Some pet parents also opt to use our Rodkey’s water-soluble CBD “Rapid” to add directly to their pet’s water bowl.

THR: You have many different coffees, teas and drinks, as well as kombucha and shots.  The shots can be added to any of the drinks?

Rodkey’s: Yes, customers have the option to add CBD, Immune Boost, our natural allergy formula, collagen, and several other health-based adaptogenic compounds to any beverage. We wanted to keep these offerings optional so our customers can essentially create their own beverage, there is truly something for everyone! We also offer a variety of craft pastries from various local businesses.

THR: You also have some cosmetics, tinctures and topical solutions, all with your name on the label.  Do you manufacture these yourself?

Rodkey’s: Yes, we procure high-quality, raw ingredients and produce all of our products in a state-regulated and licensed lab in the heart of San Antonio, Tx. Our products then go through a vigorous third-party testing process to ensure purity and potency.

THR: Rodkeys is a one-stop health and wellness shop.  Do you have plans to add any more products or consumables in the near future? Or more locations?

Rodkey’s: We are constantly watching this ever-evolving industry and adding new products, our latest addition being the new Structure CBD line of Delta 8 products. New locations are always a possibility!

THR: I see by your Facebook page you have also hosted DJ’s from San Antonio, the Panhandle and Austin.  Can you talk about your dedication to local talent?

I have been involved in the local DJ scene for many years and have always had a passion for house music. I decided to incorporate Friday night music into our business in light of COVID to help support local musicians during a difficult time, while offering a safe, fun, and relaxing Friday night option for our customers- it is a win/win!

In their 6+ years of being in the Hemp CBD industry, Charles and Meggie have seen “very positive results from thousands of clients.”

You can visit Rodney’s Health and Wellness and design your own drink at 9630 Huebner Road, Suite 101 in San Antonio, Tx.  You can check out their Green Couch Sessions on Friday nights from 6-9pm, when they have local DJ’s spinning house music, free coffee, CBD and pre-roll specials, and check out

Steve DeAngelo, Father of the Cannabis Industry

Texas Hemp Reporter: It is quite an honor to speak with you Steve. Most interviewers would ask this kind of a question toward the close, I’ll flip the coin. What is the future of cannabis?

Steve: The future of hemp is to become the most profitable cash crop on Earth. Dollar per dollar volume cannabis will begin to outsell actually any other single product. Here’s some statistics, since legalization in California alcohol use is down by 25%.. in most areas where legalization has occurred alcohol use reduction is between 15 and 20%. And I should mention Pabst Blue Ribbon has come out with a non-alcohol hemp tonic.

So many products can be replaced with hemp-based ones that are equal in price or cheaper to construct. If you press hemp seeds you get a wonderful emerald thick liquid that is bio-fuel for diesel engines. If you mix hemp seed oil with 10% ethanol, also derivable from hemp, you have a perfect bio-fuel for any diesel engine. Grind hemp seeds up you get hemp milk, a delicious beverage to put in your coffee or granola. Take a truck. Some of the truck’s body could be made from plastic from hemp oil, the engine could run on hemp diesel, the boxes the truck carries could be hemp fiber, the socks and shoes of the driver could be hemp..

Hemp is the toughest fiber, much tougher than cotton. They found wills and bequests from the middle ages where people would bequeath their hemp linens to new generations because they don’t wear out. The Levi

company has come out with jeans that are 30% hemp. That’s because they see that hemp is eco-friendly and sustainable. Using hemp paper and for furniture we could eliminate the need to cut down trees. Hemp wood is 20% stronger than oak and 100 times faster to grow.

There’s something like 25,000 products that are hemp-derived.

Texas Hemp Reporter:  You’ve co-founded or founded about ten businesses and organizations. Are you a counter-cultural hero?

Steve: I don’t think it is very heroic for someone to refer to themselves as a hero. I think that I am very lucky to have seen the light at a young age and to have the skills to organize things. I love to found, I love to get a business going then as it grows and others can manage it I move onto to something new. As far as the counter culture is concerned.. look the hippies gave us the personal computer right? The hippies gave us organic food to eat, the hippes gave us the electric car, introduced the west to yoga.

Texas Hemp Reporter: I personally believe there is a strong subculture surrounding the whole CBD thing, and medical marijuana. Do you think we can tap into this culture to make the industry more compassionate? To “love the plant” as you say?

Steve: Yeah. I believe so. Look we better, we’re destroying this planet real fast, we as consumers have a mission and we better act on it. I didn’t start

out to create a new industry but a new kind of industry. As with our Last Prisoner Project I approached the industry for support and they came through. In only a year and a half we have seen the release of thousands around the world, some due to Covid 19 petitions. Michael Thompson was released after serving 24 years of a minimum 40-years sentence. He was the longest serving non-violent prisoner  of Michigan. All for selling 3 pounds of marijuana.

Also we hope to widen the investment in new licensees, as with Arc-view. We are interested as much in how not to invest.. there is a large disproportion of new cannabis licenses in disadvantaged communities. We have to see black and brown people thriving in an industry they had a lot to do with founding. We need to find out how to support, create capital flow, sustain, educate and see those people grow.

Texas Hemp Reporter: I have been studying some of your writings. From your website, “A Lesson From Another Teacher” it is exciting because you’re talking about medical psychedelics.

Steve: Yes. I was traveling over four continents meeting with growing cannabis ventures when right in my hometown of Oakland California the city decriminalized natural visionary plants making psychoactive substances the lowest priority of the Oakland Police Department. I have always wanted to see visionary plants decriminalized as a Drug Reform activist. Also as a person who has incorporated psychedelics and cannabis into my own spirituality.

If you follow the history you know of cannabis, from the oldest known usages in central Asia, if you go east you find that marijuana became central to Hindu culture in India, and Buddhism such that it is a medicine in the Ayurveda canon. Excavations have found cannabis in temples, around statues, if you travel to Japan, the indigenous religion of Shinto, there will be a long hemp rope at the entrance to Shinto temples.

It has been shown in Israel use of cannabis as a grave offering, especially young women who had died in childbirth. And in Egypt it was burnt to clear temples. Really everywhere it is woven into the spiritual practices of peoples. It was central to ancient Greece, as were many other psychoactive plants. It wasn’t until Rome solidified their empire making Christianity the state religion which banned all psychoactive plant use. You see all those old Greek statues that are missing arms and such, that was hordes of Christians who would come in and search out anyone using any psychedelic plant, take them out of their homes and execute them. Even all those philosophers of the Academy which gave us western civilization they were using all sorts of psychoactive plants.

Interview conducted by Sana v’Ritzvah

Steve DeAngelo is a globally recognized cannabis leader who was dubbed “the father of the legal industry” by former Speaker of the California Assembly & 41st Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. From grassroots community campaigns to appearing on national television networks and every uphill battle for legalization in between, his trailblazing work and creation of a model medical cannabis dispensary that set best practices for an entire industry make him one of the world’s top cannabis experts, foremost thought leaders, and recognized entrepreneurs.

Steve is Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Harborside, now a publicly-traded company on the Canadian Securities Exchange with California dispensary locations in Oakland,  San Jose, San Leandro, and Desert Hot Springs-only the second dispensary in California to feature a drive-thru. The vertically integrated California cannabis company founded in 2006 has more than 300,000 registered patients. Rooted in Steve’s belief that cannabis use should be wellness centric, Harborside was one of the first in the nation to support comprehensive cannabis education for seniors, veterans, and families with severely ill children. Featured in numerous high profile media pieces and winning multiple awards, including Best Dispensary in California (2017), Harborside continues to set the industry gold standard and is a leading advocate for diversity, environmental sustainability, and economic justice in the cannabis sector. 

Steve is also Co-Founder of Steep Hill, Inc., the first commercial cannabis lab in the country, and Co-Founder of Arcview Group, the first cannabis investment firm. Steep Hill has grown to become a world leader in cannabis science and technology with extensive expertise in lab testing, remote testing, genetics, research and development, and intellectual property licensing. Arcview angel investment network now includes more than 600 accredited investors and has raised over $270 million for 200 cannabis-related companies to date. Steve formerly served Arcview as Vice President; the firm remains dedicated to galvanizing progressive drug policy reform by empowering a responsible, profitable industry.

Early on as an activist, Steve was skipping school to attend anti-war demonstrations and eventually dropped out to join the Youth International Party – also known as the Yippies. He went on to become the lead organizer of the annual Fourth of July Smoke-In in D.C., carrying the position for a decade. Steve graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland. He also opened a legendary D.C. counter-cultural gathering place that became known as a refuge for local cannabis and peace activists during the Reagan-Bush era, including William Kunstler, Wavy Gravy, and author Jack Herer. Steve helped Jack Herer edit and publish the manuscript for his soon-to-be-famous book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” and became a lead organizer of the first Hemp Museum and Hemp Tour. He created his first cannabis business, Ecolution; the company was one of the first to ride an industrial hemp boom, manufacturing hemp clothing and accessories for retail sales in 50 states and 21 countries during the ’90s.

Continuing to stand tirelessly for legalization and decriminalization of cannabis around the globe, Steve remained at the forefront of the cannabis reform movement, playing a pivotal role in the passage of Initiative 59-Washington D.C.’s medical cannabis law. After a legal battle lasting four years with the U.S. Department of Justice, he ultimately succeeded in defending their multiple attempts to close Harborside. He helped to pass Prop 64, California’s adult-use law, and making history on January 1, 2018, made the first legal cannabis sale in California’s first moments of legal recreational use.  

As an industry pioneer and progressive leader, Steve attracts global invitations to present and appear before audiences of thousands, reaching beyond cannabis and inspiring action toward restorative and equal justice, individual and community wellness, and cultural change for the sustainability of earth and humankind. At SXSW 2019, he gave the first-ever cannabis-themed keynote to be featured at the conference and was invited to return as a featured presenter the very next year.  A reputable and known American cannabis leader, advocate, and educator, he appeared by invitation to renowned Oxford Union in Great Britain for the 2017 ‘War on Drugs’ debate sessions. Appearing before audiences around the world is a natural progression of Steve’s life work. As a prime advocate of diversity, sustainability, and social justice, he carries his message to help build a world that lives by the same values cannabis can teach.

Steve is the author of The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness, and an originator of the wellness approach to understanding cannabis. His acclaimed book is a compelling account of a personal journey with cannabis that outlines numerous solid arguments for legalization while presenting research-backed benefits of the plant. In its first week of release, the title became number one bestseller in the Wellness category on Amazon-the book’s guiding statement: “Cannabis is not harmful, but prohibition is.” Steve DeAngelo’s special feature presentations for keynote delivery include The Cannabis Renaissance Global Edition, Whole Plant Medicine is the Best Medicine, North American Roots: The Cannabis Plant & Prohibition’s Truth, and The Cannabis Creed (debuting at SXSW 2020).

Steve’s great success and persevering advocacy draw top tier national media attention. In 2009 he was the subject of a NY Times cover, the first-ever by the publication to include a feature story on legal cannabis. He has appeared nationally on all major media outlets, including FOX, CBS, CNN, NBC, CNBC, and extensively in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today. Special feature media projects include a starring role in Weed Wars, the first cannabis-oriented reality T.V. show (Discovery Channel), Ask Steve DeAngelo weekly web series by Green Flower Media, and development of entertainment works under DeAngelo Bros. Productions, a company founded by Steve DeAngelo and brother Andrew DeAngelo. A podcast and weekly television show documenting Steve’s travels to cover cannabis culture globally are coming in 2020 to Free Speech T.V. (FSTV), a 24-hour independent television network currently available in 37 million U.S. homes.  

Steve is the recipient of the 2015 High Times Lester Grinspoon High Times Lifetime Achievement Award and was named one of the most influential people and “gatekeeper of the industry” in 2015 by the International Business Times. In 2016 he was named one of the seven “Most Powerful People” in America’s cannabis industry by Fortune. Most recently, he was honored with the Peter Tosh Equal Rights Award and inducted into the Marijuana Business Daily Hall of Fame. 

Steve believes that an ethical and politically engaged industry will be the most powerful force in spreading cannabis reform to every corner of the planet. As Founder of the Last Prisoner Project (2019), he will not stop until the last cannabis prisoner is free. As host of the Radio Free Cannabis podcast-launched in 2020, his role as an activist seeking global unity for equal justice, advocating for human rights around the world, for cannabis legalization across planet earth, and the end of criminalizing medicinal plants worldwide, continues. 

Steve DeAngelo

Father of the Legal Cannabis Industry
Global Cannabis Ambassador

Founder of Last Prisoner Project
Host of Radio Free Cannabis Podcast
Author of The Cannabis Manifesto | Website

Steve DeAngelo | LinkedIn

@steve.deangelo Instagram 23K+ followers

@TheSteveDeAngelo | Facebook 4K+ followers

@stevedeangelo | Twitter  29K+ followers

Awards Highlights:

2019 MJ Biz Award 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee
In the computer industry, there’s only one Bill Gates. In the automotive space, only one Henry Ford. And the marijuana world has only one Steve DeAngelo –MJBizDaily recognizes Steve DeAngelo

2019 Peter Tosh Equal Rights & Justice Award
Recognized for making an outstanding contribution to the struggle of basic equal rights for all.
2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from California Cannabis Awards
2019 MGO ELLO Honoree
2019 Cannabis Business Awards Hall of Fame Inductee

2019 Harborside’s KEY Takes Home Top Spot at High Times Cannabis Cup Bay Area

2015 High Times Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award

Social Media Hits:
Harborside Desert Hot Springs Grand Opening feat. Steve DeAngelo & Jim Belushi DEC 2019

Marleys LPP Board Public Announcement AUG 2019

Willie Nelson LPP Public Announcement AUG 2019

TD Ameritrade OCT 2019

Top National Media Coverage (Video):
TD Ameritrade The Watch Oct 2019
Fox Business: Varney & Co Jul 2019
Cheddar Interview in Toronto CSE Open Jun 13 2019
BNN Bloomberg in Toronto Jun 2019
Green Market Report
Cheddar Interview SXSW Mar 2019
MSNBC with Jacob Soboroff Jan 2018
ABC Feds Drop Case May 2016

National Media Coverage (Online, Print):

Steve DeAngelo Inductee into MJBiz Hall Of Fame

LA Times-OpEd on Tax-July 15 2019

Green Entrepreneur-HBOR CSE- Jun 2019

CNN Business HBOR CSE June 2019

NY Times Cannabis Goes Industrial Apr 2017

LA Times-Weed Wars-Dec 21,2011

NY Times Don’t Call it “pot” 2010

Do Cannabis Entrepreneurs and Big Business Actually Need Each Other? 2015

Forbes-Harborside Going Public-May 31 2019

Variety Magazine-Last Prisoner Project-Jul 15, 2019

Hightimes Magazine-Last Prisoner Project-Jul 2019

Speaking & Appearance Highlights:

SXSW Featured Session March 2019

Oxford Union Debate – This House Would Say No to Drugs feat Steve DeAngelo Mar 2017
Harborside Desert Hot Springs Grand Opening DEC 2019

Arcview Investors Forums

ROTH Capital Partners Conference

Cannaciencia (Bogota, Col)

ExpoCannabiz (Cartagena, Col)
CannabiSalud (Mexico)
High Hopes
CannaTech Israel


Trailblazers Summit Series
O’Cannabiz (Toronto, ON CAN)
New West Summit

Aspen High

Imperious Expo


International Police Association (IPA)

Episode # 39 Tommy Chong issue Debuts

Russell gives an update on the magazines that were released this past July 4th weekend. Profiling Lucky Leaf Expo and many of the articles and stories featured in the new July magazine. The Lucky Leaf Expo is previewed along with the Southern Hemp Expo and a preview of CBD Seed Labs podcast # 40 coming up later in the week.

See you in Dallas July 8-9-10 stop by Booth # 122 and pick up a few copies of the magazine

Justice Clarence Thomas Questions Federal Policy On Marijuana

“A prohibition on interstate use and cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper for the federal piecemeal approach,” the Judge declared in a report. “Federal policies of the past 16 years have greatly undermined its reasoning. The federal government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana.”

Erik Altieri Executive Director of NORML commented “Judge Thomas’ comments reflect what americans have known for a long time.” Federal law does not allow marijuana businesses to deduct their business expenses come tax time “Under this rule, a business that is still in the red after it pays its workers and keeps the lights on might still owe substantial federal income tax,” the Judge also pointed out. Since 2015 Congress has prevented the Justice Department from spending federal money to prevent states from carrying out their own laws. Yet the IRS continues to enforce its own rules against growers and dealers. “The federal government’s willingness to look the other way is more episodic than coherent” Clarence also said.

 Clarence has even suggested bringing a case to the justices so they can address these issues themselves. All this due to actual case: Untied States v. Raich “In the early days of the Republic it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession and consumption of a plant, any plant,” Thomas wrote adding that the court was “rewriting” the Commerce Clause allowing the feds to take away people’s marijuana plants. “This Court has casually stripped the States of their ability to regulate interstate commerce- not to mention a host of local activities, like mere drug possession, that are non-commercial”

Clarence Thomas is one of the most conservative on the Supreme Court. He recently called the federal laws regarding Pot “hodgepodge”

Beyond Raich in the past the same issue has arose in cases involving The Gun Free School-Zones Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and Thomas wrote in each case that the Supreme Court’s rulings had gone astray on the Commerce Clause. “If the government is now content to leave the states as laboratories, then it might no longer have the authority to intrude on the state’s core police policies” The Judge has been commenting on these type of cases since 2005.

The owners of the Colorado dispensary that ended up in court with the IRS stated “It’s hard to be treated like drug dealers. We’re being singled out” It’s known that Judge Clarence Thomas is one of the most conservative on the Supreme Court. He called the federal laws “hodgepodge”

“unstable” contradictory” “confusing”. It is true that under the President Bush Jr regime it came to public knowledge that Clarence had smoked marijuana in college. The real question is? did he inhale..

To Boldly Grow where no Man has Grown Before: Patrick “Picard” Stewart on Pot

     “The thing about Star Trek is you’re never dead, really. There’s always a way to bring you back to life”

     “People think I’m getting high everyday. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Sir Patrick Stewart is 78 years old and exploring the first UK’s initiative of the benefits of cannabis-based medicines led by Oxford University. “Four years ago I was filming in Los Angeles, I was examined by a doctor and handed a note to obtain legal cannabis to treat arthritis in both of my hands.” After fuddling through greasy balms and ointments Patrick found a spray that alleviated almost all pain and inflammation in his hands. “There are no side affects while Advil, Aleve, and other NSAIDS’s cause pressure on the liver.”

“This is an important step for Britain in a field of research that has been for too long held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance.”

In England in 1533 King Henry the 8th mandated that landowners grow allotments of hemp, Elizabeth the 1st later increased these quotas with punishments for not fulfilling.  In 1842 Irish physician William O’ Shaughnessy a medical officer in Bengal brought several specimens of marijuana back to England to study medical benefits. Cannabis prohibition began in the English colonies before the central island, yet the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission of 1894 judged “little injury was caused to society by the use of cannabis”

By 1928 Britain herself had classified cannabis as dangerous a drug as opium. Across the pond Attorney Jeff Sessions had this to say “I reject the idea that marijuana being sold in every store will make America a better place” while opioid addictions caused over 2000 deaths last year in Massachusetts. Sessions likened marijuana to heroin,

 Meanwhile back across the lake even though medical marijuana is now legalized in the United Kingdom “It still seems perverse that opioid prescriptions are such high levels when medical cannabis could be a much more safer system” Patrick went on to say “I see no reason why the legislation is not widened it so that doctors are allowed to prescribe it”

Whether Willie Nelson, Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dog, Morgan Freeman, Sting Sir Patrick Stewart is one in a long line of pro-marijuana benefits.

Stewart has acted in “BluntTalk” donning a lobster costume, laughing at a Christmas hat,

“I believe this program at Oxford might just begin benefits for millions of people”

HEMP PAPER In Demand for more products and textiles.

The majority of the hemp plants are in the stems. Thus a farmer has interest in making the most of this part.

Those growing for medicinal use and CBD oils can turn a profit from the leaves and buds, while hemp oil and hemp seeds per se are proving to be a lucrative market.

For some, what remains is simply left as compost. Which returns back to the soil little

more than carbohydrates. Little nitrogen or other elements of use are given back. The many tons of biomass, in the form of carbohydrates, especially cellulose, are of commercial value.

From charcoal to fine textiles, simple compounds with only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are raw materials in demand. Cellulose is the most abundant molecule in agriculture, and the most common molecule in products used by man. Paper, lumber, most of our clothing, cardboard, cordage, insulation. We live in and use cellulose. We eat it.

We pay for it. Usually, not much, but in the case of fine threads, some pay thousands for a get up.

Hemp has had its place in the best of textiles, back when the Piedmont region of Italy produced hemp threads as fine as silk.But today most hemp threads are a bit coarse, and the market is dominated by PR China, which both grows hemp and spins it. For the Western farmer there is hope on the horizon that his crop will end up on the catwalk, but more research and development is needed.

However, paper mills are looking for hemp.

In 2000 I hooked up with British environmentalist John Hanson, who had his own paper, with a large hemp leaf watermark. I ordered three tons. He had French grown hemp pulped in Spain and then sent to Scotland for the final operation. I waited with bated breath for the lorry (Brit for truck) to round the bend into my storage locker in Hammer-smith with my stash.

For the three tons of paper I traded an ounce of paper, bearing, of course, the image of Her Majesty and its own watermark; which was not a hemp leaf. However, the paper I traded for the pallets of John Hanson TreeFree (copyright) did use hemp. Many a government, including that of the United States, uses hemp in its currency.

The reason is that hemp is a more interlocking fiber than even flax. Wood does not really even have a fiber. Thus hemp provides a strong basis for other fibers to connect with and form a sheet of matted fibers.

For 2,000 years man has been using this. Americans use on average 200 lbs. per person. And most of this, almost all – is made in Southeast Asia. From wood. American paper used to be made from hemp, flax, and recycled rags. America used to lead the world in the production of paper. Now there are few mills here, most with a production of under 10,000 tons per year. Some of those are specialty mills. Very few use hemp.

Some use farm waste, a practice championed by Woody Harrelson, who encouraged the use of wheat stems in paper making. His move was good both ecologically and economically. And it was good for farmers, adding value to their harvest of food crops.

With his action, he was sowing a seed for the revival of the US paper industry. A paper industry in the US not only provides jobs, but is good for the ecology if farm wastes along with hemp bast are used. Add to that the value of recycling our rags and the argument is made.

Hemp – and other plants, can be dual crops as we revive the paper industry in the US.

Tune in next issue for a more specific discussion of this subject.

Cannabis Use with Stem Cells for Future Medicine

Jamo Lorswal

     “Role of Marijuana Components in the Migration and Proliferation of Stem Cells”

     The significance of this study was that cannabinoids can enhance the regulation of two major sources of stem cells- adipose and bone marrow-derived from human and porcine sources.

     Louis A. Cona, an MD already considers cannabis a “miracle plant”. Its modern history includes being used for weight loss in HIV patients, neuro-degenerative diseases, cancers epilepsy and the list goes on. He speaks to laboratory scientists at the University of California at San Diego and their trials concerning CBD oil effects on lab-grown neural stem cells donated by brain patients. The result: cannabinoid oil strongly regulates the proliferation, migration and neurogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

     StemX is a sports and regenerative medicine company that offers many healing modalities has an article suggesting that the body’s endocannabinoid system, which humans share with most mammals, which not only is a receptor system yet can produce amounts of cannabinoids themselves, just as the bone marrow may produce stem cells and that there are also an entire cellular receptor system for such.

     The article found that stem cells “pretreated” with a combination of CBD and moringin demonstrated improved survival rates when re-introduced into tissues.

Penalty Reduction Bill an Update on Joe Moody’s HB 2593

Penalty Reduction Bill HB 2593 an Update on Joe Moody’s

by Jesse Williams

Rep. Joe Moody (D) of El Paso authored HB 2593. The bill specifically deals with marijuana concentrates of up to 2 oz of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). Moody had previously authored what has become HB 441 (another penalty reduction bill for marijuana flower) authored by Rep. Zwiener in the 87th legislative session.

HB 2593 would remove tetrahydrocannabinol and related substances from Penalty Group 2 and place them in a new category, Penalty Group 2-B, under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

Penalties for possession of substances from the new Penalty Group 2-B would have been the same as those in Penalty Group 2-A, which range from a class B misdemeanor if the substance is two ounces or less, to life in prison or a term of five to 99 years and a fine up to $50,000 if the amount of substance possessed is more than 2,000 pounds.

Right now, any amount of concentrate found in your possession is a state felony. The last time penalty reduction was passed by the Texas legislature was 1973.

The bill passed out of the House committee with only two nay votes and passed in the House with a final supermajority vote of 108-33.

 The bill proceeded to the Senate where it passed out of committee with only 2 nay votes as well. From there the bill was approved out of the Texas Senate with a delta-8 amendment attached by Senator Perry. The amendment would bring the regulation of delta-8 to what Perry called the federal limit imposed on THC by the 2018 Farm Bill. The second reading of the bill was passed with a 25-6 vote, and after the third reading for the final passage with amendment added, a vote of 24-7 was taken to pass the bill with supermajority support.

Grinded weed shaped as Texas and a joint.(series)

Senator Hinojosa asked if the amendment would bring any lab confusion such as the previous hemp bill, to which Perry responded no. Perry was also asked if the author (Moody) was okay with this amendment, to which the answer was yes.

When the bill went back to the House to see if the author conferred with the amendments or wanted a conference committee, Rep. Moody made a point of order on the bill. Moody requested a conference committee on the grounds that the delta-8 amendment was not germane (not relevant to purpose) to the bill it was added to. The House agreed that the amendment was not germane and the bill went to the conference committee. The same conclusion was reached in the conference committee.

The House then voted on the conference committee version without the delta-8 amendment language and passed the bill again. The bill was then sent to the Senate to be heard by the members on the floor. When sponsor Sen. Nathan Johnson (D) requested for the bill to get a vote on the floor, Lt Gov Dan Patrick denied the request, likely from frustration that the delta-8 amendment language was not present.

When this request on the floor was denied, the bill was effectively dead because the deadline was coming up within hours to have the bill passed by the Senate floor once more and sent to the governor.

Concentrates of THC now remain a state felony in the state of Texas until the legislature convenes again in 2023 to possibly bring up another bill.