Kristina Etter   |   June 07, 2019

Weekly News in Cannabis and Hemp

A congressional report takes another look at cannabis consumption and driving, cannabis vending machines are coming to Europe, and the hemp industry celebrates a new era.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

New Report: Dangers of Cannabis-Impaired Driving Overstated

A new congressional report released in May shows concerns over driving under the influence of cannabis may be overstated. Various experts, under the direction of the House and Senate, actually found the results to be inconclusive at best, and readily identifies cannabis as being more complex than alcohol. In fact, the reported stated, “while marijuana usage can measurably affect a driver’s performance in a laboratory setting, that effect may not translate into an increased likelihood of the driver being involved in a motor vehicle crash in a real-world setting, where many other variables affect the risk of a crash.”

Unlike alcohol, which has a well-studied, scientifically proven threshold and measurement, cannabis impairment isn’t as straight-forward. Many variables can alter the effects of cannabis on an individual, including usage patterns, tolerance, and even genetics. Admittedly, law enforcement officials are not trained or experienced in detecting cannabis impairment, which can also lead to poor judgment calls.

The report confirms the only thing we know for sure, as with all things cannabis, more research is necessary.

THC/CBD Vending Machines Coming to Europe

European consumers can look forward to a new way to buy CBD and THC products soon. 

A Canadian company, International Cannabis Corporation, partnered with VendaPharm EU LLC with plans to deploy self-dispensing THC/CBD vending machines into a network of more than 80,000 retail endpoints and pharmacies across Europe. The technology behind the kiosks includes facial-recognition software, HD LED displays and temperature-controlled storage. Additionally, the machines come equipped with data aggregation, keyless entry, and the ability to accept debit and credit cards.

The new network of cannabis vending machines will carry a broad range of CBD products like topicals, vaporizers, hemp oil-derived cosmetics, and cannabis-light pre-rolls, plus pet-owners will be able to buy CBD gels and tinctures for their furry friends. The company intends to stock trusted, well-known brands already commonly found in Europe, but also plans on developing its own portfolio of products.

First Arkansas Hemp Crops Harvested

Farmers in Arkansas completed harvesting the state’s first legal hemp crop, and the first batch of cannabidiol extract has been processed. Touting the potential of this new cash crop, Lejen Lotspeich, CSO of New Age Hemp stated in an interview, "You can drink as many O'Doul's as you want to get a buzz, but all you're going to get is a stomachache.” Then he continued, "You can smoke as much hemp as you want to try and get high, but all you're going to get is a headache."

To date, Arkansas state officials have issued 80 licenses for the cultivation of hemp. These numbers equate to nearly 1,900 acres in 42 counties across the state, as well as, 18 processor licenses to make the extracts.

Meanwhile, Arizona Hemp Celebrates “Opening Day”

As of June 1st, licensed hemp producers in Arizona were able to kick off their first season of legal hemp cultivation and processing. Excited for the vast opportunities the crop presents to Arizona farmers, George Buckler, the Science Committee chair of the Arizona Hemp Industry Association stated in an interview with the Apache Junction news, “I’m very excited that, here in Arizona, we have a huge variety of environments and can take a crop that’s been grown for thousands of years and apply all the latest technologies, using brand new organic methods. Soon we’ll be worldwide leaders in high-quality hemp production.”

Although medical marijuana has been legal since 2010 in Arizona, the explosion of popularity regarding CBD supplements and food additives does not appear to be slowing down. Additionally, as the industry continues to expand and grow, analysts expect hemp textiles and hemp building materials to experience a similar boom in the coming years.

Rhode Island Seeking Blockchain Expertise

In a press release this week, the state of Rhode Island is requesting proposals for developing a blockchain solution to improve the state’s operations and explicitly wanting to improve “visibility into the Medical Marijuana industry from seed to sale, reducing potential fraud and abuse.”

Liz Tanner, Director of Business Regulation, said she hopes this will, “encourage blockchain businesses to demonstrate their value to government entities, and I encourage blockchain-based businesses to consider Rhode Island to test blockchain technology within government." Meanwhile, Chief Information Officer, Bijay Kumar said, "I am excited to see the possibilities and to learn more about how this new technology is helping other public and private entities reach new levels of innovation in business, security, and other areas."

 

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