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Cannabis in the Start of 2019: Latest News and Developments

Jordan Webber

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Cannabis Latest Development

This year is a new start for many people, but for the cannabis industry, 2019 is only a continuation of its success. From the last midterm election to recent policy developments, you don’t want to miss out on this trending cannabis-related news.

So, what’s new in the cannabis world? Check out these three significant developments:

Farm Bill Passed Congress

This past December 2018, the United States Congress and Senate voted on the fate of the five-year-old Farm Bill, a bill that will legalize the use of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) among others. In view of the intensifying support for the herb, it is no surprise that it garnered 87-13 votes in the Senate and a whopping 369-47 votes in the Congress.

Analysts believe that this move can help elevate the lives of thousands of American farmers as hemp can potentially be cultivated and harvested. Keep in mind that this plant has applications in many sectors. This includes the textile, automobile, manufacturing and other similar industries.

The next phase for this bill is whether it will be passed into law by the US President.

Nine States Projected to Most Likely Legalize Cannabis

After the legalization of recreational marijuana in nine states (including Washington, D.C.), Americans are anticipating the same move in the remaining states. Well, good news because nine states leaders have expressed the intention to legalize the use of the plant. This includes Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

As of January 2019, medical marijuana is legal in thirty-three states. However, some leaders also expressed support for medical marijuana, particularly in states such as Kansas and Wisconsin.

Sales Will Skyrocket

With overwhelming support for cannabis, it is reasonable to anticipate an increase in sales. Research organization Deloitte backs up this projection by releasing their latest forecast. According to them, Canada’s market can reach $7.2 billion by 2019. Statists also anticipates a jump in worldwide spending from US 20.1 billion in 2018 to USD 24.4 billion in 2019.

With legalizations, new products and even innovative discoveries about this miracle plant, 2018 was a successful year. But it is only January, and the cannabis world has already received some good news. This 2019, you might want to strap in your seat belt because it looks like a successful ride for cannabis enthusiasts and businesses alike.

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Arts Culture

Chinese Tombs With Cannabis Traces Found

Stacey Wellington

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Chinese Tombs found with Cannabis Traces

Researchers in China have discovered traces of cannabis from tombs hailing from western China. According to CNN, the first directive evidence found about the use of cannabis can be traced back to a 2,500-year-old tomb. This is considered as the first clear and known evidence of humans using cannabis.

Strong Evidence

The Atlantic reports that researchers from China and Germany found braziers as the strongest evidence of humans using this plant. These braziers, also known as wooden incense burners, reportedly contain high levels of THC from cannabis.

The team of scientists were able to identify the sample obtained from the burners through vaporizing a sample. Afterwards, The Atlantic states that the scientists painstakingly separated its components and classified the level of chemicals found within the compounds.

Wooden brazier found at Jirzankal Cemetery with traces of Cannabis | © Xinhua Wu

Apart from finding burners at the Jirzankal Cemetery, researchers were also able to dig up human bones. The origins of the human bones point to individuals coming from a variety of places, including Pamirs that were previously part of the Silk Road.

Such findings led the scientists to link cannabis to these individuals, with individuals suggesting that these plants may have been traded in the Silk Road.

Besides burners, the team successfully retrieved numerous artifacts. These include wooden bowls and plates, glass beads, harps, pieces of silk, and pieces of skulls and human bones, reports the New York Times.

Discovery of Different Uses of Cannabis

Compared to more modern uses of marijuana, the traces of cannabis found at the Jirzankal Cemetery were found to contain higher traces of THC, the psychoactive compound. Based on the report released by BBC, it appears that ancient individuals put marijuana leaves on top of hot stones and inhaled the smoke.

BBC notes that the high altitude of the region resulted in marijuana plants naturally producing plants with higher THC levels.

Apart from these suggested uses, scientists suggest that marijuana leaves were used for burial ceremonies as a means to communicate with souls or the divinity. The Atlantic reports that burning these plants also served as a vessel to safely guide and move the deceased towards the afterlife. The news site also mentions that cannabis may have been used to alter the mind and talk with divine entities.

Given the high levels of THC found in these plants, marijuana may also be used for deodorizing corpses.

The study of this tomb and its connection with marijuana was published in the journal of Science Advances, notes the New York Times.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Columbia Care Kicks Off First Cannabis Credit Card

Jordan Webber

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Columbia Care Cannabis Credit Card

Columbia Care announced the launch of its National Credit program with its CNC Card.

The medical marijuana company licensed to operate in the U.S. and 15 jurisdictions in the European Union said the launch of the card follows a successful test run in New York in the second half of 2018. The introduction of the card led to an 18% increase in the number of in-store purchases. Moreover, the card also helped boost repeat visits and home delivery orders.

With the card, people in the U.S. can now get a credit card for buying medical cannabis.

From New York, the Columbia Care will offer the program to its Delaware and Pennsylvania markets. Later, the company’s Illinois and Arizona customers can apply for the card. The firm aims to expand the reach of its program to all its locations by the end of 2019.

Cannabis Credit Card

Available initially only at Columbia Care dispensaries, the firm is looking into opportunities for expanding the availability of the card across the country through targeted partnerships.

Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care, said the firm aims on expanding the cannabis market in the country. Through the launching of the first cannabis credit card in the country, the company allows consumers and participants in the industry to purchase cannabis products.

He also said the card would act as a starting point of the company’s nationwide growth initiatives, including home delivery, the launching of an e-commerce site, and automatic fulfillment.

In addition to having a tool for an electronic form of payment, CNC cardholders can also be eligible for other benefits including discounts, cash back affinity programs, educational seminars, privileged access to new products and other exclusive offers.

Cannabis Banking Gaining Steam

Aside from having a cannabis credit card, medical marijuana customers may also enjoy the benefits of banking. Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation that kicks off a three-year pilot program wherein cannabis firms could use an online system in sending and receiving digital currency.

Last month, the California State Senate passed a bill allowing financial institutions to offer products and services dedicated to cannabis financial transactions.

If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the legislation, around 900 bank branches in the state would be allowed to handle cannabis cash, California Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg said.

The federal government is also working on protecting legitimate cannabis financial transactions. Earlier this month, a U.S. House committee approved a bill that includes a provision that would safeguard banks serving legal marijuana businesses from getting penalized by federal financial regulators.

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Arts Culture

Tracing Important Cannabis-Related Facts Throughout History

Jordan Webber

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Cannabis

Cannabis has a long history, but how far does its story go back to? Considered as a worldwide crop which is the oldest plant in the history of humanity, it is interesting to learn about the key events in the long history of the plant. Read on to find out the most important events in its story:

Hemp in the Ancient Times

If you think that marijuana only emerged in modern times, then think again. The plant has existed for thousands of years now. There were records of it being used in Ancient European, Asian and African civilizations, making it a truly global herb. Check out how it was used in ancient times.

Applications of Cannabis:

  • Spirituality and Religion

Perhaps one of the most primary uses of marijuana during this age is for spirituality and religion. Ancient texts bear witness to the religious purpose of cannabis. The Vedas of ancient India goes as far back as 2,000 BC, mentioning cannabis as one of the five sacred plants. Shinto and Buddhist literature also mentions the herb as an aid for meditation.

  • Healing

Aside from aiding in spiritual rites, cannabis was also used to treat all kinds of medical conditions. The Chinese people have a legendary leader who prescribed cannabis tea for a variety of medical conditions. This includes rheumatism, poor memory and gout.

There were also records of medical use in India, Egypt and Japan, which is implemented to treat cough, anxiety, inflammation and constipation. It was also used as an anesthetic.

As spirituality and healing are closely related in ancient times, it is important to mention that some studies assert that Jesus used hemp oil as an anointing oil to cure the sick. Researchers say that the Scriptures refers to it as keneh-bosem (or kaneh-bosm) in Aramaic.

  • Trade and Industry

In ancient times, the plant was not only consumed but also used for practical and industrial purposes. Hemp is a highly fibrous herb, making it a good crop for textiles, papers, ropes and many other industrial products.

Who Smoked the First Blunt?

This question pops up on every smoker’s mind. In fact, even non-smokers may be curious as to who discovered that this plant can be smoked and consumed. Cannabis legend and High Times editor-in-chief says that our ancestors from Bactria (now part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) discovered the psychoactive properties of cannabis through burning the plant in caves and shelters. However, it is difficult to determine who exactly smoked the first blunt.

Earliest Evidence of Marijuana Use

Scientists believe that the crop came from Central Asia, which includes the modern-day countries that cover the ancient place that is Bactria. While Hager says that the herb came from what is now known as parts of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, other scientists say that it emerged from what is now called Siberia (the southern part) and Mongolia.

Researchers say that the use of cannabis can be traced back to 12,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest crops in the world. The oldest texts that mention the consumption of the cannabis dates as far back as 4,000 B.C. in China.

However, it is only recently when experts discovered direct evidence of humans consuming marijuana. A 2,500-year-old burial site in Western China was found to have traces of the plant with high contents of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering compound in cannabis. Theories say that it was used for ritualistic burials or for its psychoactive effects.

The Medieval Age and Cannabis

Also called post-classical age, the medieval times was another eventful time for cannabis. With the various imperialistic endeavors during this age, the world saw marijuana’s evolution in the medieval age.

Applications of Cannabis:

  • Alchemy and Herbalism

As a medieval forerunner of chemistry, alchemists experimented with what the plant has to offer. Alchemists (the medieval equivalent of modern-day scientists) used marijuana incense and other extracts from the plant for medicinal purposes. Some historians say that religious hospitals grew hemp for the same reason.

However, herbalist physicians warned people against the excessive use of the plant. These individuals believe that over consumption can lead to infertility and even serious medical conditions.

  • Creativity

A lot of writers and thinkers of the time have consumed marijuana. Even the prolific William Shakespeare was believed to have taken this herb, which may have resulted in his creative writing.

Worldwide Cannabis

The plant arrived at Eastern Africa when Arab traders came to the region in 1,300 BCE. They brought cannabis to treat various illnesses such as malaria, asthma and dysentery. Meanwhile, the Spanish Conquest in 1,500 BCE brought the plant to the Americas. The colonists used their hemp crops for industrial purposes, making ropes and textiles using its fibers.

Wine and ‘Hashish’

During medieval times, the wine was banned in the Middle East. This led the people to turn to hashish, allowing them to get intoxicated without breaking the law.

How the Modern World Perceives Cannabis

Now that we know how the herb was used in the ancient and medieval ages, we now come to our own time: the modern age. While you are familiar with how the public views marijuana today, there are several important events that can influence the future of the plant.

Applications of Cannabis:

With the debate going on regarding the usefulness of the plant, one of the first things you should know is that cannabis is used for:

  • Medical Treatments

Just like in the ancient and medieval ages, this herb is used today as an effective addition to medical treatments. However, it is essential to note that we now have a better understanding of the medicinal effects of the cannabis. We currently have deeper knowledge about the chemical compounds of hemp, especially cannabidiol (CBD), and its effects on the human body thanks to the endocannabinoid system.

With this, we know how and why the plant can reduce, alleviate, treat and prevent various medical conditions of the body. These include cancer, epilepsy, mental disorders, inflammation, pain and brain degeneration diseases, just to name a few.

  • Recreational

In the medieval age, humans used marijuana for leisure. The same is still true today, especially with the legalization of the crop in many parts of the world. Many individuals use the plant for its medicinal properties, but many others enjoy their psychoactive effects thanks to THC.

  • Lifestyle Aid

Aside from recreational usage, the herb is also popular as a lifestyle aid. The group of writers and thinkers called Le Club Des Haschischins (or the Hashish Club) in mid-19th century consumed the plant. While the medieval age has shown how it is well-used as a creativity aid through various works, it is generally used as a lifestyle aid in modern times. Many people now recognize the plant’s potential not only as medical, recreational and creative aid but also as a productivity aid and mood enhancer.

The popularity of CBD has enabled professionals, creatives and scholars the boost in energy, cognition and creativity they need to become more productive. In fact, it has the potential to greatly increase the quality of life of many working individuals.

  • Trade and Industry

The passing of Farm Bill 2018 in the United States signals the return of hemp as an industrial crop. This means that Americans will be able to enjoy hemp-derived products from oils, papers, textiles and many other industrial products.

Aside from this, there are speculations that marijuana can become an energy crop. Researchers are looking into its potential as a biodiesel source, especially as it produces a large amount. Compared to the current energy crop, soybeans, hemp can turn up to 4 times more oil per acre.

War on Drugs

One of the most important cannabis-related events in the globe is its inclusion in the war on drugs. There are drugs wars being waged across the world, aiming to eradicate the use of illicit substances including LSD, cocaine, fentanyl, and unfortunately, marijuana.

The U.S. is one of the countries that are waging these types of war. Since the enactment of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, the country has federally banned the herb. Other countries that are executing the initiative includes Mexico, Bangladesh, the Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore among others.

Cannabis Legalization

Only 2 countries have nationally legalized the herb for any use: Uruguay and Canada. However, there are a lot more others with favorable medical marijuana laws, including Thailand, Chile and Croatia. In the U.S., 33 states legalized medical marijuana, eleven of which including Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational use. Meanwhile, many parts of the world are looking into legalizing the herb, getting us nearer to worldwide legalization.

Today, cannabis is one of the most widely consumed and beloved natural crops. When combined with the mounting research pertaining to the medical attributes of the plant, even legal recreational use can become possible. With its legalization in some parts and its impending legalization in others, many places across the globe will once again be able to serve its people with the goodness that is marijuana and all its benefits.

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