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May Day: Where Cannabis Stands in Industry and Employment

Jordan Webber

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International Worker's Day

The end of April is coming fast, which brings us closer to Labor Day, also known as May Day. On May 1st, we will be celebrating the International Workers Day. If you are having a smoke while reading this, you may be curious how the pot sector has impacted labor, industry and employment. Well, you are in luck. Read on to find out where weed stands in the complicated world of industry and employment.

What significant developments should we know?

In order to see where weed stands in industry and employment, we need to take a look at how far legal marijuana has gone in the past year until now. Here are just some of the most significant developments related to cannabis and employment:

  • The US Farm Bill 2018 was Passed

Towards the end of 2018, the US Farm Bill was passed by the Congress. This bill makes the cultivation, extraction and use of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) legal. Hemp is the variety of cannabis plant that is rich in cannabidiol and fiber but is low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This plant is known to be very easy to cultivate and has a high growth rate. Because it is fiber-rich, it can be used to make biodegradable plastic, paper and other similar products. Aside from this, the plant is seen as a potential biofuel source.

  • The Industry Generated Thousands of Jobs

With the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in some states, there is no wonder why weed cultivation companies and dispensaries are popping up left and right. Along with this, there is a significant increase in the number of cannabis-related jobs, especially with the passing of Farm Bill. According to a special report released just this year, over 211,000 Americans are able to provide for their families and support their communities with legal marijuana jobs.

This number is expected to grow more in the coming years. In fact, experts say that there will be 340,000 or more cannabis jobs by 2022. This is pretty significant, especially as it amounts to 21% growth every year!

  • Latest Court Decisions Involving MMJ Backs Employees

In the past, employees are fired when their employers learn that they consume weed. In fact, there are individuals who retracted when prospective employers find out that they are medical marijuana users. While this type of situation can still occur even today, the American Bar Association revealed that recent trends regarding marijuana and the workplace favor employees.

This brings us to our next point.

  • Some States Enact Employee Protection Laws

Perhaps the reason why court decisions pan towards employees is that legislation regarding medical marijuana and employment are being enforced in some states. As of March 2019, 14 states have employee protection laws in place. This means that there are policies to be followed regarding MMJ and employment. However, because the legalization of cannabis (whether recreational or medical) is fairly new, legislators need to put careful consideration in formulating and implementing policies.

Does the gender gap exist in cannabis industry jobs?

With the wide disparity between the number of men as compared to women working in some sectors, it is important to look at how women fare in a sector that is known to be ‘dominated by white men.’ When asking whether or not the gender wage gap exists in the cannabis industry, the short answer is yes. According to Patriot Care, women in the sector are ‘closing the gender gap,’ which means that it exists, but that the situation is getting better. In fact, women are represented in many fields in the weed industry with 63% of high-level positions and 48% of senior-level posts held by women.

Want to get to know some of the ladies that are rocking the industry? Read on to find out who they are.

  • Shaleen Title and Danielle Schumacher

First on this list are best friends Shaleen Title and Danielle Schumacher. These two ladies founded THC Staffing Group, a company that deals with recruiting a more diverse workforce in the cannabis industry. In an interview with Ladybud, Title reveals that they established THC Staffing Group because of the highly noticeable lack of women during weed-related conferences and events.

With hundreds of cannabis businesses saying that they want to be more diverse in hiring, Title and Schumacher took the first step by providing them with a pool of women and people of color candidates. Now that’s a big leap compared to the usual list of applicants which is 95% white men.

However, Title emphasizes that their company does not aim to dismiss the contributions of the usual candidates in the pot sector. Instead, they aim to address the effects of the prejudice placed to people of color due to marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs.

  • Wanda James

Another significant pioneer in the marijuana community is Wanda James, who is now known as the ‘first black owner of a marijuana dispensary’ in her home state, Colorado. James used to work as a Navy lieutenant and is not operating not one, but three marijuana-related companies. First is Simply Pure, a dispensary that caters to medical and recreational pot users. She also runs Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a cooking school, which also handles catering orders. Lastly, James handles a consultation company that focuses on matters related to weed.

Just like Title who aims to use her pot business as a way to address real social matters experienced by people of color, James also seeks to use the legalization of weed to pursue social equity. The reason for her advocacy? She cites her experience with her younger brother who was given a 10-year sentence for having a small amount of weed on his possession.

  • Chanda Macias

Next up is Chanda Macias, who owns and manages the National Holistic Healing Center (NHHC). Based in Washington, D.C., the organization offers medical cannabis care to patients suffering from debilitating conditions and other specific illnesses. Aside from providing care, the NHHC also educates and support patients with qualifying conditions.

Macias has a Ph.D. with focus in Cell Biology, and with training in breast, prostate and bone cancer. There is no wonder that she is working to help patients with debilitating medical conditions. After all, one of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana is cancer. With her dedication to the healthcare industry, Macias is set on finding the most innovative solutions and this includes medical cannabis.

  • Hope Wiseman

Even before reaching 30 years old, Hope Wiseman is already making waves in the weed sector not only as a businesswoman, but as the ‘youngest black woman to own a cannabis dispensary’ in the US. She runs Mary and Main, the first dispensary in Prince George’s County. This facility carries a wide variety of strains and therapeutics, making these products available to locals. Aside from being a dispensary, Wiseman envisions Mary and Main to be an events place for enthusiasts.

Title, James, Macias and Wiseman are members of Women Grow, an organization concentrated on cultivating female leadership in the pot sector.

How is medical cannabis received in workplaces around the world?

The developments in some states in the U.S. are already a tremendous win, especially when combined with the nationwide legalization in Canada. With the industry’s huge victories in North America, it is important to know how this plant fares in other parts of the world.

Here’s an executive summary of the developments across the globe:

  • In Asia, one of the most important developments is Thailand’s legalization of medical marijuana. There might still be a need to craft laws and policies related to work and marijuana.
  • Some parts of the continent seem to be much less inclined to follow Thailand’s footsteps.
  • After Canada legalized the plant, Japan issued a warning to its citizens saying that laws pertaining to marijuana still applies to Japanese citizens abroad. This essentially prohibits Japanese citizens from consuming any form of cannabis even when they are in a country where this herb is legal.
  • There are talks of medical marijuana legalization in other parts including the Philippines and India.
  • Uruguay is the first country to legalize medical marijuana nationwide.

With various developments in the U.S., the future seems to be bright for cannabis and the workplace, especially with the relaxing workplace policies in the country, as well as the positive impact on job creation. With this, cannabis seems to have a place in labor and industry. This is true, with the narrowing gender gap in the industry and what it does for people of color. However, elsewhere in the world, the plant needs more support in order to gain a footing.

This May Day, take the time to recognize the contributions of the marijuana sector in labor, industry and employment. Come May 1, make sure to light up a joint to show your solidarity with the community, as well as with the workers around the world.

Cannabis News

FTC Warns Three CBD Companies About Unfounded Health Claims

Daniel King

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FTC Warns CBD Companies

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday, September 10, it has sent letters to three CBD companies cautioning them about the use of health claims that have no reliable scientific evidence to promote their products.

The FTC has refused to name the three CBD companies. However, the agency did go into some detail regarding the health claims that each company had made.

“One company’s website claims CBD ‘works like magic’ to relieve ‘even the most agonizing pain’ better than prescription opioid painkillers,” the FTC revealed in a statement. “To bolster its claims that CBD has been ‘clinically proven’ to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), fibromyalgia, cigarette addiction, and colitis, the company states it has participated in ‘thousands of hours of research’ with Harvard researchers.”

Company two, on the other hand, is said to had claimed that CBD can treat autism, anorexia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), stroke, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, MS, fibromyalgia, cancer, and AIDS. It was also reported that the company promotes CBD as a “miracle pain remedy” for acute and chronic pain, as well as for pain stemming from cancer treatment and arthritis.

Lastly, the third to get the warning letter is said to have advertised CBD gummies as an effective treatment for “the root cause of most major degenerative diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, asthma, and a wide spectrum of autoimmune disorders.”

In addition, the company had also claimed that CBD cream can cure arthritis pain, and CBD oil serves as a good treatment alternative for “depression, PTSD, epilepsy, heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and asthma.”

According to FTC, the use of unfounded health claims to promote CBD products could result in forced reimbursements to those who had purchased the items and even federal injunction. To date, the agency is giving the company a 15-day allowance to reply and provide details about the steps they have taken to address the concerns presented by the agency.

Earlier this year, the FTC, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had joined forces to send a previous round of letters to three CBD companies concerning their use of unproven health claims to sell their products.

“Before making claims about purported health effects of CBD products, advertisers need sound science to support their statements,” the FTC wrote on its website. “The takeaway tip for anyone in the industry is that established FTC substantiation standards apply when advertisers make health-related representations for CBD products.”

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Cannabis Legalization

Community College in Illinois Now Offering Cannabis Course

Jordan Webber

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Illinois Cannabis Dispensary Course

Aspiring budtenders at Illinois dispensaries can now get training certificates with the new cannabis dispensary course at Oakton Community College.

The course helps students prepare for the laws associated with legal marijuana use, consumption, types and treating terminal illnesses. Unlike blow-off classes, this course does not let students touch any marijuana inside the classroom, instead, make use of visuals so students can differentiate each type.

Aside from drug laws, students enrolled in the cannabis dispensary course will learn more about molecular biology and the technical knowledge of working in a marijuana dispensary.

Just recently, the University of Minnesota also opened its new undergraduate Cannabis course.

This is the first and only community college in Illinois that offers a certificate course in cannabis, which highlights practical knowledge on the subject to help students land a job in the multi-billion dollar industry. After the certificate program, students will be trained at a local cannabis dispensary and patient care specialists to help them prepare to work on both medical and recreational settings.

The course will have 12 credit hours with instruction in the business and dispensary operations.

According to the Oakton Community College Vice President for academic affairs, Ileo Lott, the course offering is backed by the increasing demand of people and industry needs. Most of the dispensaries, not only in Illinois, look for employees with relatively high knowledge about marijuana.

Lott added, “They’re [dispensary owners] looking for people who know how to work with chronically ill patients and understand what they need. They’re not looking for enthusiasts who love to use the product.”

Marijuana Legalization In Illinois

The regulations about the medical cannabis patient program or MCPP is yet to be finalized by the Illinois legislation, in preparation for the legal commercial marijuana sales effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Additional medical conditions for the MCCP includes a minimum age of 21 for purchasing smokable medical cannabis like vaping products and other associated accessories. Registered MCCP patients can also grow up to five cannabis plants for personal consumption.

The new medical conditions that qualify for the MCCP include autism, chronic pain, migraines, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Neuropathy, Ulcerative colitis, Polycystic Kidney diseases, Osteoarthritis, Superior canal dehiscence syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease.

Medical practitioners such as nurses and caregivers can also apply for the MCCP to assist patients as opposed to only physicians.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last Aug. 12, 2019, the permanent medical marijuana program and qualifying conditions for the MCCP.

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Arts & Culture

The LGBTQ Community in the Growing Cannabis Industry

Stacey Wellington

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LGBTQ in Cannabis Industry

There is no denying that the LGBTQ and marijuana communities have some form of connection. In fact, the two have strongly significant relations.

The best way to start tackling the contributions of the LGBTQ and marijuana communities is by introducing Dennis Peron. A member of the LGBTQ himself, Peron is known as one of the first advocates of medical marijuana legalization in the United States. He started pushing for legalization as his partner died of AIDS.

With Propositions P and 215, two ballot initiatives that advocated for medical legalization, MMJ was made accessible in California in 1996. He also established the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, which is the first public dispensary in the country.

He also worked with LGBTQ hero Harvey Milk to stop San Francisco from arresting and prosecuting individuals who are found growing, distributing and possessing marijuana.

LGBTQ Cannabis Entrepreneurs

With such intertwined histories, the two communities remain to be related until today. In fact, some LGBTQ members are making contributions to the marijuana sector today by way of entrepreneurship. Check out these LGBTQ cannabis entrepreneurs.

  • Buck Angel

Adult film star and transman Buck Angel decided to enter the legal cannabis market with Pride Wellness, a dispensary that sells marijuana products with the LGBTQ community in mind. The dispensary became an avenue for Angel to talk about their stories and to educate people about the plant. It also has a delivery service that operates in Los Angeles.

Growing up lesbian, Angel found comfort in the company of gay men. He felt accepted and at home with them, which no doubt influenced his decision to help the LGBTQ community in the best way he can. He decided to venture into the industry especially after seeing his friends suffer from AIDS symptoms.

This delivery division employs people from marginalized groups. The service has drivers who are queer and people of color. Aside from Pride Wellness, Angel works with brands such as Quim Rock with the same goals in mind.

  • Renee Gagnon

Renee Gagnon is a transwoman and founder of HollyWeed, a Canada-based marijuana dispensary. Before establishing HollyWeed, she founded Thunderbird Biomedical (called Emerald Health Therapeutics later on), which is one of the four companies that participated in Canada’s medical cannabis research and development initiative.

However, there were concerns at Emerald regarding her transition affecting the desirability of the company in the eyes of potential investors. Because of this, she stepped down from her position and chose to mentor female entrepreneurs in the sector. She went on to establish HollyWeed.

  • Jamie McCormick

Queer entrepreneur Jamie McCormick is also thriving in the marijuana sector. Also known as Flower Daddy, McCormick works as a florist and event planner who gives his events a twist. He incorporates cannabis in his work, from placing the plant in his flower arrangements to arranging a wedding complete with a marijuana bar which offered a rolling area, infused edibles, chocolate fountain, and a CBD station.

Through his work, he aims to break down stereotypes regarding enthusiasts. In fact, some of his clients even replace the traditional first toast to a more theme-appropriate first toke. His events remain elegant but more spontaneous, thanks to the plant.

To expand his business, he worked to establish his very own retail florist shop in LA.

  • Zairilla Bacon

Lastly, cannabis chef and lesbian woman of color Zairilla Bacon is making waves in the industry. As a queer woman of color, Bacon has experienced discrimination when finding clients for her cooking business. In fact, one client who was highly impressed by her reputation turned her down because of her identity.

However, she finds the landscape much easier to navigate today, especially with the public becoming more open-minded. Bacon now cooks for popular celebrities such as Mike Tyson, 2 Chainz and Tommy Chong. She also sees to it that her fellow people of color and members of the community get the help they need.

Ways to Support the Marijuana Industry

Knowing how the LGBTQ community has contributed to the emergence of the marijuana legalization we know today is pretty enlightening. If you are looking for ways to show your support to the cannabis community, here are the best ways that you can do so:

  • Only Buy from Legit Dispensaries

One of the main things that shed a negative light on the plant is underground selling. Black market product only paints the plant as an illicit substance, even when we now have legal stores which you can buy from. So, it is important to make it a point that you buy your supply only from legitimate retailers. This way, you can guarantee that the product complies with safety and health regulations, while also supporting the legal marijuana industry.

In connection with this, buying from legitimate dispensaries contribute to the strengthening of the market. Remember, investors seek to make money when they invest in any kind of market. By purchasing from legal retailers, you are showing investors that the industry is a viable and profitable investment. This can make the industry flourish even more in the future.

  • Use Responsibly

Aside from black market products, another source of the negative reputation of the plant is irresponsible to use. While marijuana has a whole lot of benefits, it can react negatively with other substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs such as LSD, heroin, and cocaine.

According to studies, mixing alcohol and THC will intensify the hallucinatory effect of the plant. This is because the liver prioritizes the metabolization of alcohol, leading to the accumulation of THC before it can be processed. The increased effect can cause impaired judgment which can then lead to dangerous situations. Other potential effects include dehydration, issues with vomiting and increased side effects.

For your safety and those of other people around you, make sure that you consume the plant responsibly. This can help not only in reducing unfortunate incidents but also in building the reputation of cannabis is a beneficial plant.

  • Seek Out Passionate Establishments

If you advocate for anything, you only seek out sources that also support your causes. For example, environment-advocates only patronize companies that take steps to become environment-friendly. The same goes for advocates of animal welfare, education and equality.

So, if you are looking for a place that will replenish your cannabis supply, you might want to look for a passionate dispensary. Of course, most of these establishments are passionate about the plant, so that is definitely a plus. However, it is no secret that some can take advantage of its popularity just to make money without recognizing the roots of the plant. This is why it is important to look for companies that truly adore marijuana including its benefits and history.

  • Advocate for Legalization

What better way to show your support for the industry than to advocate for its legalization? After all, we now have access to medical and recreational marijuana because of the people who fought for its legalization. Unfortunately, years and years of prejudice against the plant has been inculcated in the public’s consciousness.

This is why it is all the more important to show your support for cannabis. There are many ways you can advocate for the plant. Simply recommending CBD oil and other cannabis-infused products to your friends and family can be a huge help. Moreover, voting for legalization is instrumental. After all, some states have legalized the plant through ballot initiatives.

  • Dispel Misconceptions

While you may understand the benefits of this plant, there is no doubt that many individuals have misconceptions regarding cannabis. The best way to address such myths is to dispel them. So, why not educate your friend about the medical uses of cannabis?

Even for recreational purposes, the plant is proven to be useful. You can also inform them of the benefits of CBD even to everyday life. Who knows, you might end up turning them into advocates, increasing the number of individuals supporting the plant! Moreover, you will surely change their life simply by introducing them to its wonders.

  • Uphold Cannabis Values

In supporting the marijuana community, another important thing you should remember is that many enthusiasts are known to be peace-loving and very chill individuals. In fact, the hippie counterculture in the 1960s is known for its slogan, “Make Love Not War.” The Psychedelic 60s and 70s is teeming with calls for peace, love, freedom, and equality.

With these values closely linked to the cannabis community, it is important that we uphold such values, especially in light of the connection between the two communities.

Just like Taylor Swift sang, “Shade never made anybody less gay,” or in this case, it never made anybody less enthusiastic about cannabis. In fact, the years of marijuana prohibition only resulted in a stronger push toward legalization.

With the successful businesses and contributions of the LGBTQ community to the cannabis industry, marijuana enthusiasts certainly have an ally in these people. Likewise, the cannabis industry is opening up to queer individuals showing how intertwined the two communities are.

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