8 Women-Run Cannabis Instragram Accounts You Should Follow

More Instagram accounts than ever are dedicated to celebrating women and femmes who dig cannabis. If you want to fill your newsfeed with pro-feminist and pro-cannabis content, all of the accounts below are for you.

Take a look at these women-run, cannabis-centric Instagram accounts below. While some of them are more lighthearted than others, all of them boast stellar content and pride themselves on unapologetically honoring and supporting women and femmes who choose to consume cannabis–for whatever reason.

Chronic Sad Girls Club

 

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Remember to take days off. ?ChronicSadGirlsClub.com?

Based in Arizona and created and run by Laura Armenta, @chronicsadgirlsclub is devoted to “helping femmes navigate the intersection where cannabis, mental health, chronic illness, and self-care meet.”

This account abounds with gorgeous posts and images that gently inspire and affirm cannabis-consuming women and femmes who deal with all sorts of chronic and mental illnesses, from depression to anxiety to chronic pain.

Recently, Chronic Sad Girls Club partnered with @totem.yoga and @flow.ganjamama to create Ganja Flow, a safe space where women and femmes can “practice yoga, heal, and medicate without stigma or judgement.” So if you live in Arizona and have a valid AZ MMJ card, follow @chronicsadgirlsclub to be the first to know when the next event is happening.

Cannasexual

 

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Consent is mandatory. Having conversations about your intentions and what you want to co-create together is an important part of living by #CannaSexual values. You don’t get to just smoke a joint and bone and call yourself a CannaSexual. This is a paradigm. And I have specific values that support this paradigm, including prioritizing consent and practicing self awareness and transparency in communication. ? Text: “Negotiate before you medicate. Before consuming anything that may cause intoxication, have a conversation with your partner about your boundaries, what would feel good, and how you can support each other if you feel disconnected from your body or overwhelmed in some way. Having that conversation up front is crucial.” – @cannasexual #cannasexual #sexandcannabis #cannasex #consent #corevalues

Based in Long Beach, California and created and run by Ashley Manta–a former Leafly contributor, sex and cannabis coach, and multiple sexual assault survivor–@cannasexual is dedicated to helping people mindfully combine sex and cannabis in safe, consensual, and healthy ways.

Whether you’re curious about cannabis-infused lubes, decreasing pain during penetrative sex with cannabis suppositories, or consuming cannabis to help you heal from the trauma of sexual violence, the “High Priestess of Pleasure” has got you covered.

Women Grow

Founded by Jane West, Jazmin Hupp, and Julie Batkiewicz in 2014 in Denver, Colorado, Women Grow was created to “connect, educate, inspire, and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders by creating programs, community, and events for aspiring and current business executives.”

In the past five years, Women Grow has evolved into a for-profit powerhouse that exists to help women from all walks of life influence and succeed in the cannabis industry, and its Instagram account is regularly updated with a wide array of inspiring weed-related posts — from exceptional pieces of cannabis journalism to updates on Women Grow’s monthly local networking events and its annual leadership summit.

Dope Girls Zine

 

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???SHARING IS CARING??? via @leafly

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Dope Girls Zine is a feminist cannabis culture zine that was founded by Beca Grimm and Rachel Hortman back in 2016. When Grimm and Hortman, “noticed a lack of female representation in the 420-friendly community,” the pair decided to help change the face of cannabis consumption in the American South while also championing marginalized voices.

With both their zine and their Instagram account, Grimm and Hortman are succeeding in doing exactly what they set out to do, from calling out ICE for putting kids in cages to lifting up the LGBTQ community to unapologetically defending reproductive rights.

Grimm and Hortman typically publish two zines each year, and while they aren’t totally opposed to working with men, they pride themselves on prioritizing the work of women and non-binary contributors.

Mother Indica

 

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High Tea Chia Pudding with Rose Coconut Whipped Cream ?? . 1 cup chia seeds 2 cups coconut milk 1 teaspoon CBD honey 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder 1 teaspoon hibiscus tea powder 1/2 blackberries, fresh or frozen . Optional Toppings: rose coconut cream Coconut flakes Bee pollen Fresh berries Flaxseed Hemp seeds . In an 12 oz. mason jar add coconut milk, chia seeds, and CBD honey. Secure jar with airtight cap and shake a few times. Leave mixture in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. . Once chia pudding is formed, remove half and place in immersion blender or food processor with hibiscus powder and blackberries. Blend to desired consistency. Add to cute glass. . Add layer of original chia pudding on top of purple layer. . Blend remaining chia pudding with strawberries and hibiscus to desired consistency. Add final layer to cute glass. . Top with your favorite toppings. I enjoy mine with rose infused coconut cream (top layer of cream whipped with 1/8 teaspoon rosewater) and fresh wildflowers. . Happy 420, may yours be as light and fruitful as the plant herself ? . #420recipe #recipe420 #cannabiswellness #indicawellness #functionalcannabiscoach #cannabisandnutrition #happy420 #healthy420

Created by Erin Willis–a mother, holistic nutritionist, cannabis wellness coach, and educator soon-to-be based in Colorado–Mother Indica first began three years ago as a blog centering around an anonymous mom experimenting with cannabis and holistic living to treat her postpartum depression. Since then, Mother Indica has become, “a community of proud, uncloseted cannabis consumers on a journey of self-realization and elevated self love in connection to cannabis and nutrition.”

The blog is frequently updated with content revolving around the wellness side of cannabis, motherhood, and destigmatizing the use of cannabis for everything from culinary and beauty recipes to daily medicine. Both the Mother Indica blog and its Instagram account act as a, “motherly guide and resource for cannabis and nutrition education, inspiration, and storytelling,” and @motherindica is regularly updated with gorgeous images, product recommendations, event invites, and inspirational posts.

Breaking The Grass Ceiling

Created in tandem with the release of Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Women, Weed & Business, this Instagram account acts as a feminist and pro-legal weed space for cannabis-consuming women and femmes to find information, inspiration, and support.

From gorgeous images to informational posts to event invites to inspirational quotes taken directly from the book, @breakingthegrassceiling is worth a follow no matter your aspirations–but it’s particularly helpful if you’re hoping to break into the legal cannabis industry and start your own cannabis business.

High Girls Club

 

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? @thingsinmymouth

High Girls Club is easily the most lighthearted Instagram account featured in this list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as important and delightful as all of the other women-run cannabis accounts we’ve mentioned.

Whether you’re looking for a daily dose of inspiring quotes from cannabis-loving celebrities (like Lady Gaga), beautiful illustrations of babes getting lifted, product recommendations, cute gifs, or just content that will make you giggle, you should probably follow @highgirlsclub STAT.

Survivors For Cannabis

As both a blog and a private Instagram account, Survivors For Cannabis serves as a safe space for survivors of all genders, sexualities, colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, ages, abilities, and experiences who choose cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Or, as the blog explains it: “Through collective research, learning and advocacy both online and with local chapters, SfC fights the many layers of stigma around cannabis, mental illness, sexual violence, and survival.”

Whether you’re a survivor of sexual violence or simply a curious ally, @survivorsforcannabis is a fantastic account to follow.

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New York Decriminalizes Cannabis Possession Starting Aug. 27

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s governor signed a bill Monday that softens penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis and allows for the expungement of some past convictions.

After Aug. 27 it’ll be a $50 ticket for under one ounce, or $200 for one to two ounces, statewide.

The legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes unlawful possession of cannabis a violation.

The penalty is $50 for possessing less than one ounce, or a maximum of $200 for one to two ounces.

The law also requires that records tied to low-level marijuana cases either be marked as expunged or destroyed. It takes effect 30 days after the governor signs the bill into law. August 27 will be the law’s effective date.

“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.

No Stop-and-Frisk Relief

Advocates for cannabis legalization acknowledge the law is a step forward but also say it falls short of addressing a web of negative consequences that come with having cannabis as an illegal violation.

“Police have historically found a way to work around the decriminalization of marijuana,” said Erin George, of Citizen Action of New York.

People can still face probation violations and immigration consequences under the decriminalization bill, George said.

Melissa Moore, New York state deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance, said the law will continue to allow authorities to target people of color and their communities for cannabis enforcement.

Expungements and Record Sealing

At least 24,400 people will no longer have a criminal record due to the bill, according to New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The law will prompt the sealing of more than 200,000 convictions for low-level marijuana offenses, according to the agency.

State lawmakers considered legalizing cannabis for adult use this year, but that legislation stalled after state leaders failed to reach an agreement on key details in the final days of the legislative session.

Cuomo and the top leaders in the Legislature are all Democrats.

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USA Today Report: Cannabis Consumers Reduce Use of Pills, Booze

A new report by Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and dozens of other publications, has found that cannabis use by new consumers correlates with a reduction in their use of painkillers and alcohol.

The study, conducted the company’s digital marketing arm, LOCALiQ, combined survey responses with mobile data to paint a picture of cannabis consumers in legal states. Researchers surveyed 8,805 cannabis consumers aged 21 to 64 across 21 states in which some form of cannabis is legal.

“Baby boomers that are not purchasing marijuana are 60% more likely than millennials to consider it.”

Among all surveyed consumers, 49% reported reducing their over-the-counter painkiller use since starting cannabis, and 52% reduced prescription drug use. Another 37% said they’ve reduced alcohol consumption since starting cannabis. And 60% said they consider a healthy lifestyle to be a priority.

The report splits subjects into two main categories: current consumers and so-called “acceptors,” or “those that would consider using cannabis but currently are not.” From there, the report profiles three groups of current consumers–affluent families with children, baby boomers, and frequent shoppers–and asks what it would take for the cannabis curious to actually consume.

Affluent Families

Affluent families, which make more than $75,000 per year and account for 38.8 million US households, are “active cannabis buyers,” the report found. Their average spend on a visit to a retailer was $50, and their biggest factors in choosing a shop are the selection of products and strains (88%) followed by price and convenience (87%). Their top motivators for consuming cannabis included stress management (48%) and chronic or recurring pain (37%). And 71% say they value a retailer that grows and sells its own products.

Consumer behavior also depends on who in the family is doing the shopping. A majority of dads (55%) in the study, for example, shopped at an average of four or more dispensaries over the past three months. Moms on average shopped at only a one dispensary over the same period, “making them more loyal customers,” the report says.

“Despite high spending levels overall,” the report found, “Affluent Families are not loyal and are most easily swayed by a good selection of products/strains.”

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are a sought-after demographic for many cannabis brands, and the report makes clear why: Of the groups surveyed, none spent more on cannabis per shop visit than boomers. More than a third (37%) spend upward of $75 per visit, while their average is on par with affluent families ($50). Not only that, but boomers also had the largest percentage of acceptors, or people who are open to consuming cannabis but currently are not. That could mean an additional spend of $1.1 million, the report found.

In fact, the report found that boomers were actually more cannabis curious than their millennial counterparts, noting that “Baby boomers that are not purchasing marijuana are 60% more likely than millennials to consider it.”

Why so much interest? “This group views cannabis as a solution to a myriad of day to day issues such as anxiety, aches and pains, sleep, digestion and more,” the report says. The top reasons given by boomers for consuming cannabis were chronic or persistent pain (62%) and temporary or minor pain (40%).

Boomers are also relatively loyal shoppers, although they tend to visit stores less frequently than other groups: Roughly two-thirds (65%) of boomers who consume cannabis visit a retail store on monthly basis. When they do stop by a shop, they’re looking for a good price (90%), friendly staff (89%), and a good selection of strains and products (88%).

Frequent Shoppers

The report’s third highlighted group, frequent cannabis shoppers, do exactly that: shop for cannabis frequently. Of those surveyed, 70% said they go to a cannabis shop three to four times per month, where they tend to drop an average of $50 or more per visit. Most are millennials and Gen Xers: 58% were between 21 and 34 years old, and 35% were 35 to 54. A majority (54%) said they use cannabis to help manage stress.

Frequent shoppers don’t just go to the store often–they’re also likely sign up for deals and promo alerts. Of those surveyed, 62% said they are notified of promotions through emails or text messages. And 58% belonged to some sort of rewards or points program.

What do these shoppers want? Competitive prices and a good selection of products are top-of-list, with 83% of those surveyed mentioning those traits. After that, they’re looking for friendly staff (80%) and recommendations for treating specific ailments (also 80%). But don’t expect frequent shoppers to stick to the same shop. The report notes that these buyers aren’t particularly loyal.

Acceptors

Acceptors are on the fence. They don’t currently consume cannabis, but they say they’ll consider it. In established legal states, the report found, roughly half of nonconsumers say fall into this category–and wooing them could mean big bucks for the industry. “Spanning many consumer types and ages including millennials, baby boomers, and affluent families with children, the acceptor segment has an estimated market potential of $2.1 billion, making it the largest potential combined growth segment,” the report found.

Acceptors are three times more likely to get information about cannabis from a news website than from their doctor.

Most of these folks are interested in cannabis as medicine. More than three-fourths (77%) said they would use cannabis to treat a medical condition, and 23% think medical cannabis could help with a current health issue and are interested in learning more. The biggest reasons they’d consider using cannabis include to treat chronic or recurring pain (63%), to help with anxiety or stress (46%), and to have a better quality of life (41%).

While acceptors are primarily interested in medical cannabis, the study found they’re three times more likely to get information about cannabis from a news website than from their doctor.

What’s in a Brand?

There’s still very little brand loyalty in the cannabis space, the report found, with 67% of cannabis consumers shopping at two or more dispensaries during the past three months and a quarter shopping at four or more.

So what drives consumer decisions to go with one shop over another? Of those surveyed, 80% said a retailer’s reputation is “extremely important” in their selection process.

“Like other more established market segments that lack brand loyalty,” the study found, “price, selection, and friendly staff topped the reason why shoppers selected a particular dispensary.” Those surveyed gave these five reasons, in order of importance:

  • Reasonable prices
  • Good selection of products/strains
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Convenient location
  • Products to treat specific ailments

More information on the report can be found on LOCALiQ’s website.

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Congressional Committee Discusses How to Legalize Cannabis

In a first-of-its-kind hearing, a key congressional committee met Wednesday morning to discuss how to finally put an end to federal cannabis prohibition. Titled “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform,” it was the latest indication of just how far Congress has come on cannabis reform after decades of intransigence.

Wednesday’s hearing highlighted competing visions of what reform should look like.

According to most polls, Americans now broadly support cannabis legalization, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in favor. That bipartisan agreement was on display Wednesday at a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting, where members of both parties expressed frustration at the current state of the country’s cannabis laws.

Ending prohibition, said US Rep. Tom McClintock, a California Republican, “may be one of the very few issues upon which bipartisan agreement can still be reached in this session.”

But while lawmakers seemed to agree on the need for reform, Wednesday’s hearing also highlighted tensions between competing visions of what reform should look like.

Race: A Persistent Sticking Point

The war on drugs has wreaked havoc on millions of Americans and their families, but no group has been more disproportionately impacted than people of color. Despite evidence that Americans consume cannabis at similar rates across racial lines, US Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) noted, black and brown people are roughly four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than their white peers. Those disparities are even higher in some parts of the country, including major cities such as New York and Baltimore.

“The foundations of our drug policy are inherently racist.”

Dr. G. Malik Burnett, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Even in states that have taken steps to legalize, racial disparities remain–both in terms of arrests and as measured by company ownership in the newly legal industry. In Florida, for example, which has a limited medical cannabis program, US Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell observed that most people in the legal industry are “white and wealthy” while people of color continue to be arrested. “We have a tale of two Americas,” she said.

To address these inequities, some lawmakers called for automatic vacation or expungement of past cannabis convictions. Others urged more direct action, such as funneling federal funds to help people of color find a foothold in the new industry.

That suggestion was too much for other lawmakers, such as McClintock, the California Republican. Though he agreed with the need for some form of federal cannabis reform, McClintock claimed Democrats were using the issue to inflame racial divisions. “I am disappointed that just as a strong bipartisan consensus is emerging on this issue,” he said, “the majority has chosen to play the race card.”

Other committee members pushed back by highlighting the drug war’s racist origins.

US Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), for one, noted that a chief architect of cannabis prohibition, Harry Anslinger, not only “made claims about cannabis that were incorrect” but “also targeted blacks and Latinos.”

“Would it be fair to say that the origins of marijuana prohibition are racially tinged, flawed?” Jeffries asked Dr. G Malik Burnett, a physician at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance.

“The foundations of our drug policy are inherently racist,” Burnett replied.

Rescheduling vs. Descheduling

In years past, cautious promoters of cannabis reform, such as former Sen. Hillary Clinton, said they would support removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act’s most restrictive category, Schedule I, and reschedule it amid a less-restrictive class of drugs. But both lawmakers and witnesses at Wednesday’s hearings said that removing cannabis from the CSA entirely would lead to better results for most Americans.

“The whole system to me seems irrational.”

US Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)

US Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), noted that cannabis is less dangerous than most Schedule II drugs, which include cocaine and fentanyl. But even moving cannabis to Schedule III would leave obstacles in place for businesses and consumers. Taxing cannabis and expanding research would be allowed under Schedule III, for example, but access to banking and other financial services would still be limited. Nor would a Schedule III classification allow consumption by consenting adults.

“The whole system to me seems irrational,” Lieu said. “I think marijuana should be taken completely off of the Controlled Substances Act.”

Removing cannabis from the CSA completely would also “lower the barrier to entry to the cannabis industry” and thus promote a more equitable industry, Burnett of Johns Hopkins said. Descheduling cannabis would allow cannabis entrepreneurs to access federal incentives for small businesses, including grants, loans, and other financial support. That would mean more equitable access to startup capital than is currently available through angel investors or venture capitalists “who themselves have a diversity problem,” Burnett said.

Public Health

One of the speakers at Wednesday’s hearing was Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who in January announced that her office would no longer prosecute cannabis possession cases. She also filed a motion to erase nearly 4,000 cannabis convictions–a move the court has since denied. Mosby testified that decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis would allow the state to better treat problem drug use while at the same time freeing up law enforcement resources to target bigger public health threats.

“We’ve criminalized what should have been a public health issue this entire time,” she said. Since her office stopped prosecuting cannabis possession cases, Mosby told the panel, the clearance rate for Baltimore’s nonviolent shooting crimes has gone up. “What would my work look like if we were to focus on safety?” she said. “It would be great.”

Gateway Drug & Teen Use

Asked to speak to the notion that cannabis is a gateway drug, Dr. David Nathan, board president for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, called the concern “one of the most thoroughly debunked issues in this debate.”

For one thing, many researchers now subscribe to the so-called common liability theory, which says that there are a common set of factors that tend to lead to all drug use, including poverty, absence of a parent from the home, bad schools, unsafe streets, genetic predispositions, and others. It seems drug use is determined less by what someone puts in their body than the environment that body is in.

Beyond that, Nathan added, “Although there is a correlation between cannabis use and the use of other drugs, there’s also a stronger correlation between alcohol and tobacco and the use of other drugs.” In other words, if we’re truly concerned about a gateway effect, alcohol and tobacco use are bigger concerns than cannabis.

Next Steps

There are a number of bills currently circulating in Congress that address cannabis legalization. The leading measure, the STATES Act, was mentioned favorably by a number of legislators and hearing witnesses. A few, though, objected to the lack of equity measures in the STATES Act–measures which are contained in a rival measure, the Marijuana Justice Act.

Wednesday’s hearing was not meant to consider any one specific bill, but rather to give legislators an overview of the racial justice issues at play.

“Everything in politics seems impossible until it happens,” said US Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “If 15 years ago I were to tell you, ‘In 15 years we would have gay marriage in 50 states and, in some of those states, we’d be smoking weed,’ you’d think I was crazy. But that is, in fact, what is happening now.”

“I appreciate the fight,” Lieu said. “Keep on fighting, and I believe we can get this done.”

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Meet the Women Leading America’s CBD Wellness Revolution

On a recent Friday evening in a private home near Walnut Creek, California, several accomplished, professional middle-aged women gathered to learn about cannabis.

The authors of a new book on cannabis and CBD explain it all, clearly and without apology or puns.

Sipping LaCroix and nibbling on cheese and grapes, they were excited to meet Dr. Junella Chin and Aliza Sherman, authors of the new book, Cannabis & CBD for Health and Wellness: An Essential Guide for Using Nature’s Medicine to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Inflammation, and More.

Like most of America, they’d heard all about CBD but knew next to nothing about it. That’s a learning gap Chin and Sherman hope to close.

Cannabis & CBD, published earlier this month, details the history, botany, science, chemical compounds, case studies, and practical uses of cannabis. The book is a comprehensive and beautifully designed primer that’s perfect for newcomers–and will fill in the knowledge gaps for more experienced patients and consumers.

An expert guide for non-experts, without stigma, fear, or lame puns. Sherman and Chin get it right. (Courtesy Random House)

Whether as a wine replacement, a substitute for anti-anxiety medication, to ease the symptoms of menopause, or to aid with sleep, there are a myriad of reasons for women to seek out cannabis.

CBD helped Dr. Chin get through med school. Cannabis eased Sherman’s insomnia and neck pain.

But the knowledge barrier to entering the market remains large. That presented an opportunity for female educators and health professionals like Sherman and Chin.

Aliza Sherman is the CEO of Ellementa, a women’s wellness network that offers online resources and connects women in cities across the country at gatherings like the one in Walnut Creek, to learn about cannabis from expert speakers and connect with trusted brands. Junella Chin specializes in osteopathic manipulative medicine, and is currently treating patients in New York City as an integrative cannabis physician.

Prior to the event in Walnut Creek, I sat down with Sherman and Chin for a wide-ranging conversation about their new book and their experiences with cannabis. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Junella Chin: CBD helped her manage a spinal disease and make it through med school. (Jake Elwood photo, courtesy Random House)

Leafly: How did the two of you meet?

Both women laugh.

Junella Chin (JC): We just met!

Aliza Sherman (AS): We didn’t meet until last week. We wrote the book and had not met in person until literally last week when we started our book tour together.

Leafly: Oh wow!

AS: I knew of June from Ellementa New York City. She was invited to speak there by the local leader in New York, and it went really well. I read up on her and took a look online. I saw a lot of great, credible information. I wanted a co-author, preferably a doctor and a woman, and she fit the bill. I invited her to write the book with me and she said yes.

Leafly: How did cannabis enter your life?

AS: A lot of people in this industry have had some kind of physical, mental or even spiritual awakening because they accepted the fact that this plant can be helpful.

‘I thought cannabis was dangerous and illegal and would ruin my brain. It wasn’t until in my early fifties that I began to realize it was medicine.’

Aliza Sherman, co-author

I was resistant to it for so many years. I dabbled in high school and college, but it wasn’t something I thought I should have in my life because of the stigma. I thought it was dangerous and illegal and would ruin my brain.

It wasn’t until in my early fifties when I was suffering that I began to realize it was medicine. … I started researching it and I thought ‘Wow, maybe I could use this for my insomnia and chronic neck pain.'” I tried it and it worked.

I was really excited about the discovery, and I wondered why more people don’t know about this. As a writer, communicator, speaker and teacher, I wanted to teach women about it.

Author and cannabis educator Aliza Sherman
Aliza Sherman: After finding relief from insomnia and neck pain, she’s now teaching other women about medical cannabis. (Photo: Ageist, courtesy Random House)

A Challenging Spinal Disease

Leafly (To Chin): What about your personal journey with cannabis?

JC: I became a patient before I graduated from medical school. As a teenager, I was diagnosed with a debilitating spinal disease, and that led to years of chronic pain.

‘An HIV/AIDS doctor told me about CBD oil. He said it helped his patients with pain and didn’t make them feel altered.’

Junella Chin, co-author

I cycled through all of the conventional therapies: medications, epidurals, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, rolfing. When I got to medical school I found that the only thing that worked was medication and a brace–that was short-lived, but it got me through chunks of time.

I started doing rounds at the hospital, working 80 hours a week. I had a really hard time standing. One of my attending physicians noticed, and he asked me what was going on. He said “You’re not going to be able to finish medical school like this, to be honest with you. You have a long way to go.”

Getting Through Med School

I explained that I had ankylosis spondylitis–AS. He knew about it, and he knew that there was no cure. All you can do is find symptomatic relief. Dr. Levine was an HIV/AIDS doctor, and he’s the one who offered me marijuana in a tincture form. He said “This is what my HIV and AIDS patients use. It really helps them with pain and it doesn’t make them feel altered.” He didn’t call it CBD oil at the time. He just said it was a different kind of cannabis plant.

I grew up in the Bronx. I was pre-med, I had my eye on the prize, so I didn’t experiment with cannabis. I had an opinion about it–it was for gangsters and high school dropouts. I grew up in a strict Chinese household, and I was taught that it caused psychosis. But I had to try it–either that or drop out of medical school. So, I tried it over a weekend. By Monday I knew it was working. To my amazement, something was changing. I was able to stand and wash the dishes. I could sit for more than a half-hour to study.

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I went to medical school in California shortly after it legalized here medically [in 1996], so I was able to learn everything I could about both this plant and about conventional medicine. It was the best of both worlds. I decided to dedicate my career to helping patients integrate medical cannabis safely.

Everybody’s Talking About CBD

Leafly: It‘s interesting that the book’s title is Cannabis & CBD. How do you feel about the trendiness of CBD and its promotion to people who may not know what it is?

AS: There are pros and cons. The pros are that when everyone’s talking about it, it’s normalized.

‘Everyone’s hearing about CBD and thinking that it’s going to be a miracle cure for them. But they really have no idea what’s in it.’

Aliza Sherman

Even if it’s trendy, it’s out in the open. People don’t understand that CBD is cannabis and it comes from the cannabis plant. It’s a variation, but it’s still cannabis. Even legislators, they have no idea.

The downside is that everyone’s hearing about it and thinking that it’s going to be a miracle cure for them. They think something is better or healthier because it has CBD in it. But they really have no idea what’s in it–if it’s been cleaned, if pesticides and heavy metals have been removed. They could be taking in toxins and they have no clue.

JC: Other health care practitioners don’t realize that CBD is cannabis, and they feel better saying, sure you can prescribe CBD oil. So it’s semantics. My older patients, 65 and older, always come in and say “I don’t want marijuana, I want CBD.”

So that’s why we named the book Cannabis & CBD. We talked with the publisher and went through different titles, and they said ‘Cannabis and CBD are separated so much in our culture, it would be a good title and then you can delve into it.'”

Leafly: Are there negative side effects to using CBD that aren’t discussed?

JC: Absolutely. It’s not a silver bullet. It can be contraindicated with certain medications. It can change the way your prescription medications and natural supplements work. If you take too much CBD, it can cause nausea or diarrhea. There’s a subset of patients that can’t tolerate the cannabis plant at all, they get very ill or depressed, have trouble sleeping and get anxiety, and that’s something that needs to be discussed. It’s not a cure-all.

Opening Medical Culture

Leafly: Why do you think more MDs aren’t educating themselves about the endocannabinoid system or cannabis in general?

JC: We don’t learn about it in medical school or residency.

‘We don’t learn about the endocannabinoid system in med school. But I’m now teaching it to pharmacists.’

Junella Chin

I’m just starting to do grand rounds, teaching it to pharmacists. I just did a symposium at a medical school in New York, and after that I got so many calls from medical students wanting to shadow me in the office, so it’s starting. But we still can’t prescribe it–we can only recommend it–and there’s a liability with it, it’s still federally regulated. It’s not covered by my malpractice insurance, and if I have an affiliation with a hospital, they’re very clear that they don’t cover you if you recommend it and something goes wrong.

MDs as a whole are very conservative. We follow a linear path. This is botanical medicine with a broader therapeutic window than pharmaceutical meds, and that’s not what conventional healthcare is about.

Leafly: For better or for worse.

AS: Exactly. There’s definitely something to be said about the benefits of regulation–including mandatory testing. A lot of CBD products aren’t tested.

It’s not for us to promote an opinion of which products are best. We don’t say that “isolates are terrible and full-spectrum – whole plant is better.” We explain that there’s a place for each. Isolates are more limited in their ability; full-spectrum CBD has a broader potential to be beneficial for many more things. We let the consumer decide.

What’s Coming Next

Leafly: Over the next five to ten years, what do you think the potential is for cannabis to change medicine as we know it?

JC: I think there will be more research into the biosynthetic version of cannabis. If it’s genetically-modified yeast creating cannabinoids, making it in an isolate form with molecular consistency, then the pharmaceutical industry will embrace it and healthcare practitioners will as well. Ultimately I think that’s where it’s going to go: towards the development of pharmaceutical-based cannabinoids.

AS: For better or for worse. There is a beauty and harmony to nature’s medicine. But the variability scares and confuses people. We’re trying to get to the people that think it’s too complicated and simplify it for them so they can embrace something that’s more natural. Because once it’s a pharmaceutical, it’s very different from the way nature intended.

JC: I think there’s a place for both. With plant medicine, when you’re pulling apart the molecules of the plant, you’re not going to get the benefits of the synergism of the whole plant compound.

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Recycling Vaporized Cannabis: 10 Ways to Use AVB (‘Already Vaped Bud’)

“Already vaped bud,” or AVB for short, is the brown, crispy flower that’s left over after vaping cannabis. Although much of the THC in cannabis will be vaporized, the flower isn’t turned to ash (unlike smoking) and retains some of its cannabinoid content. That means it can be used twice, if you know how.

Now, not all AVB is created equal. If you have that vaporizer blasting at a high temperature, it’s unlikely that your AVB will have much left to give. That said, if you hit the sweet spot, and vape with convection heating at around 315-440?F, you’ll be surprised by how much potency can still be gleaned from your leftover flower. Luckily, this is around the temperature you should be vaping at anyway to avoid combustion.

That said, the potency of your AVB will vary depending on not just the temperature it was vaped at, but also the potency of your cannabis flower, and also the method you end up choosing to use your AVB for. As always, when using your final product, remember to start low and go slow until you figure out the potency. After that, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy!

Below, discover 10 creative ways to recycle your AVB, rather than tossing it in the compost.

Edibles

First in line is likely the most obvious use–edibles. Baking or cooking with your AVB is a great choice because it helps to mask the flavor while also making use of those leftover cannabinoids.

AVB can be utilized just the same as ground flower for anything from brownies to herbed salmon, except unlike flower, because it is already decarboxylated, it is ready to use! Simply toss it into the mixture to enjoy, but use it gradually in your recipes, starting with a lower dose at first, as it will be impossible to be sure of the potency. Better to make a less potent batch and have an excuse to eat two brownies than to make one that’s too strong and only be able to nibble a corner.

Water Curing

If you fancy the idea of using AVB for edibles but just can’t get past the taste no matter what flavors you add, water curing might be the trick to help you salvage your bud. The process is pretty easy, but a bit time consuming.

You’ll first need to save your AVB until you’ve accumulated a half ounce or more to make the process worth your time. Next you’ll need patience, because the process itself will take about 4-7 days.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First take a cheesecloth and use it to bundle up your AVB like one big teabag. Tie it off with a string.
  • Place the bundle in a bowl of water, letting it soak thoroughly.
  • Check back in a couple hours and toss the discolored water, adding fresh water in its place.
  • You’ll want to do this for about four days, up to a week but no longer, changing the water as frequently as possible.

Once the time has come, drain the water, wring out the teabag, and then spread the water-soaked AVB evenly onto a baking sheet. Set the oven to 200 degrees and let it chill for two hours, tossing the AVB about every 30 minutes to ensure it dries evenly.

Voila! You now have a batch of AVB without the awful taste. Use it in edibles or turn it into butter to use for everything from baking to breakfast.

Sprinkle on Food

If you love the idea of ingesting your AVB but can’t be bothered to cook, (no judgement here, fellow take-out aficionados), fear not, because AVB can be easily added to any snack. Since it has already been decarboxylated in the vaping process, there’s no need for any extra steps before eating.

That said, for this method, water curing is strongly recommended for flavor purposes, but if you’re really the queen of lazy culture, consider pairing it with Nutella, peanut butter, bbq sauce, hot sauce, or other strong flavors to help mask the taste. This is not the most glamorous use of AVB, but hey, there are those who still drink Bud Light–and it ain’t for the taste.

Capsules

This is another method of direct ingestion without having to cook, bake, or even water cure. There are quite a few benefits of using the capsule method, such as discretion. It’s easy to swallow one while going about your day, making it a subtle and private option. In addition, you won’t have to worry about the taste.

All you need to do is purchase empty gel capsules and fill them with the AVB. The one downside is that the onset of effects will be delayed, since the capsule needs time to break down and dissolve. For some, this may be a perk, for others, a drawback. Either way, this method offers an easy and effective way to ingest your AVB.

Coffee or Tea

As mentioned before, AVB is already decarboxylated. As such, it’s very simple to add it to your morning coffee or tea for an infused beverage that will give you some pep in your step. For coffee, simply add the AVB to your coffee grounds when brewing your cup. Then we recommend adding a strong coffee flavor, like hazelnut or caramel, or a dollop of butter (or cannabutter!)–all will help mask the taste.

When making tea, add the AVB to your tea leaves and allow to steep. Choose a tea that has a strong flavor, and add some honey or another sweetener to help with the flavor. Between the two, coffee will likely be the better tasting, but by experimenting with flavor, AVB can be a decent accompaniment to both coffee and tea.

Cannabinoids bind to fat, so adding a bit of milk or cream may also be a good idea.

Coconut Oil

Infused coconut oil is an easy way to make use of AVB, and it’s especially effective since cannabis is fat soluble–and coconut oil has plenty of that. Once again, this is a method that would benefit from using the water curing method first.

To use this method, add the AVB and coconut oil into a slow cooker and let sit on low heat for a few hours. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. When done, allow to cool and then strain the oil from the plant material using a cheesecloth. Store in a cool, dark place.

Tincture

This is another method that will require patience, and considering that the outcome will not have the same potency as regular flower, you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the wait. If you do decide to give it a go, you can enjoy the convenience of tincture, such as easy and discreet dosing.

Tinctures can be easily added to an array of food and drinks, or simply taken orally under the tongue. Simply follow this useful guide to make a tincture.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

AVB can be used to make an ingestible or topical extract, such as RSO, but keep in mind that the potency and purity is not going to be the same as using fresh flower. This would not be an oil suitable for medical grade purposes, but it can serve its purpose as a less potent extract oil for casual use.

If you decide you’d like to go this route, start with water curing, and then follow the instructions for making RSO.

Technically, You Can Smoke It

Alright you absolute madlad, we get it. You can’t be bothered to cook with it, you don’t have the patience to water cure, and you don’t fancy sprinkling it on food. You have your pipe and lighter handy, and you’re wondering: Can I just smoke this shit?

Well, the answer is yes, but if your friends judge you, don’t blame us. This should probably be a last resort, because the potency won’t compare to fresh flower, it will be a harsh smoke, and the taste may just rival an accidental inhale of bong water–but by all means, knock yourself out, you audacious rebel.

With so many methods of using your AVB, there’s no excuse to throw it away after a vaping session! Try some of the above and find the method that works best for you.

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Illinois Just Legalized Cannabis. Here’s What Happens Next

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made history today by signing a bill legalizing the adult use of cannabis in the Land of Lincoln. Pritzker might as well fire a starting gun.

The race is now on to get about 55 Illinois adult-use stores open, serve potentially millions of customers, and dismantle the decades-old drug war machine. Aspiring retailers have just weeks to apply for licenses. Illinois state agencies must immediately start creating programs to license them. People currently facing low-level marijuana charges can petition to have cases dropped effective immediately.

To give you an idea of how far we’ve come: California’s 1996 medical marijuana law, the nation’s first, could fit on a postcard. The bill signed into law by Pritzker today ran to more than 600 pages.

We read the entire 610-page bill so you don’t have to. Here’s what happens next in a legalized Illinois.

(Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Stores Open Jan. 1, 2020

  • The first wave of retail sales will occur at existing medical cannabis dispensaries that obtain a license allowing them to expand into adult-use sales. As many as 55 dispensaries could have adult-use licenses by Jan. 1.
  • Only adults 21 and older with valid ID may purchase.
  • Taxes will run about 25% at the register (including 7% cultivation, 10% state sales, 3.75% county sales, and 3% city sales).
  • Products on sale will initially be sourced through the state’s medical cannabis system and its producers.
  • Illinois’ 67,000 qualified patients will have cannabis reserved for them, as well.

Personal Rights Kick in Jan. 1, 2020, Too

  • Illinois residents age 21 and over can possess up to 30 grams of flower (that’s about one ounce), 5 grams of hash, and edibles with up to 500 mg of cannabis’ main active ingredient, THC. For out-of-state visitors the limits are a little more strict. You’re limited to 15 grams of flower.
  • Adults 21 and older with valid ID can legally buy cannabis, drive it home, and enjoy it. You can’t smoke it in public, or in a car, or in your condo if your condo association prohibits it. This will probably be on the agenda of a lot of condo associations at next month’s meeting.
  • Home growing is limited to medical cannabis patients only. Recreational cannabis gardening can get you a fine of up to $200 for up to five plants.
  • Underage possession comes with consequences. If you’re under 21, you’re looking at up to a $200 fine and a misdemeanor for possessing cannabis. Non-licensed marijuana sales are still a felony. Driving while intoxicated remains illegal. Bosses can keep drug testing people and fire anyone they reasonably suspect of being stoned on the job. If you furnish cannabis to someone under 21, you’re looking at a minimum $500 fine, and if someone gets hurt, a felony. Interstate traffickers still risk a Class X felony, $200,000 in fines, and more prison time than some rapists or murderers.

Criminal Justice Savings Start Immediately

  • Illinois police made 32,773 marijuana arrests in 2016, 42% of all drug offense arrests. Those arrest numbers should collapse.
  • If you were arrested in the past year for under 30 grams of marijuana you can petition the court to have that arrest expunged. We’ll have more details on that soon.
  • If you’re in jail, prison, or on probation or parole for a minor cannabis crime you can also petition for an expungement. The state has to notify you that you’re eligible. Some folks will get out of jail or get off probation.
  • In 2020, state police must begin annual automatic expungements of old records. An estimated 770,000 records could be expunged eventually.
  • Parents can’t be deemed negligent for cannabis use alone.
  • Pediatric medical cannabis patients can take their epilepsy meds at public schools.

 

Illinois marijuana legalization will make medical dispensaries much busier when they are approved to sell adult use cannabis. (Courtesy of Mission Illinois)
Illinois medical dispensaries will get much busier when they are approved to sell adult use cannabis. (Courtesy of Mission Illinois)

The Adult-Use Market Rapidly Ramps Up

  • Jan. 1, 2020 is just seven months away–the blink of an eye in bureaucratic timeframes. At maximum capacity, by the year 2025, Illinois might have 500 stores, 30 big farms, 150 craft farms, hundreds of infusers, and more.
  • Adult-use licensing runs on the rails laid down by the state’s medical cannabis system. In July, the state is expected to spend $17 million powering up the Cannabis Business Development Fund. State officials also must craft and release an application for the state’s 55 medical cannabis dispensaries to serve the first adult use customers.
  • Fees, taxes, licensing, and mandatory donations run into several hundred thousand dollars for dispensaries that want to sell adult use. Double that amount to pay for the personnel to navigate the bureaucracies.
  • Still, incumbent licensees that pay to play get first crack at serving Illinois’ roughly one million regular cannabis consumers.

“The existing license holders should have the opportunity to do quite well,” said Illinois dispensary operator Kris Krane, a Chicago-based national cannabis regulations expert and president of 4Front Ventures. “I’m not really hearing any complaints about how much they’re going to have to spend to participate in the adult use market.”

Unprecedented Equity Provisions

Opening a licensed cannabis store in the US is not like opening up a lemonade stand. Cannabis remains a federally illegal Schedule I controlled substance. Opening a store is a major commercial real estate undertaking that requires substantial capital–in the millions, not thousands–and a sharp legal team. Selling cannabis is but one skill of hundreds that any team needs.

Consequently, the folks who sold illegal marijuana–and got busted for it–are often among the most disadvantaged when it comes to obtaining a license to sell legally.

HB 1438, the bill signed into law today, blunts the discriminatory effects of heavy regulation and fees with a slew of grants, carve outs, community college courses, business incubators, sponsorships, and diversity bonus points for licenses applicants. Illinois will pay for it out of the deep pockets of incumbent players.

  • The first adult use cannabis sellers must surrender 3% of annual profits (up to $100,000) to equity regulators, and incubate disadvantaged entrepreneurs with physical space or loans of $200,000.
  • License applicants get bonus points for being veterans, diverse, Illinois residents, environmentally minded, union organized, and community organizers. Paging, Barack Obama.
  • One quarter of all cannabis tax revenue–less regulatory costs–is earmarked for a new state program dubbed Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3), good for tens of millions of dollars in grants to community groups to decrease gun violence and concentrated poverty.

Adjustments and Annual Reporting

Lastly, the new Illinois law should prove to be more flexible than most, due to the fact that it was created through the state legislature and not via a statewide ballot initiative. By 2021, state agencies must make public reports on the program’s status and progress toward its goals. There are mechanisms built into the law that allow lawmakers and regulators to fairly easily increase or decrease taxes, fees, and license allocations.

In many ways, Illinois has set the template for the legalization bills coming to future states in the Midwest and East Coast.

“This makes it a lot easier for Rhode Island and Connecticut and New York and New Jersey,” said Krane. “You needed one state to get this done to give a little push to some of these other states. I think we’re going to start seeing a wave of these states over the next couple of years now.”

Illinois Legalization Implementation Timeline

June 25, 2019

State officials release application for Early Approval Adult Use Licenses

Cities start thinking about local votes to ban

Dispensaries and farms have 60 days to apply to sell or grow adult use cannabis

Emergency rulemaking begins at Dept of Agriculture and others

Illinois State Police must identify cases eligible for expungement and notify defendants

Illinois State Police must begin automatically expunging small-time marijuana arrest records older than one year, if no charges were filed

Summer ’19

State loans itself $17M to start Cannabis Business Development Fund

Dispensaries submit applications for Early Approval Adult Use Licenses

Medical cannabis farms submit applications for Early Approval Adult Use Cultivation Center license

Departments have 60 days to approve a complete application for a store or farm

DUI Task Force created

Fall ’19

Cultivation taxes kick in 7% in September

Adult Use Dispensing Organization License Application out by Oct. 1

Early Approval farms start selling to Early Approval stores on Dec. 1

Dispensary staff must complete Responsible Vendor Program by Dec. 1

ISP must approve or deny expungement petitions within 60 days of receipt

Courts must expunge records within 60 days of order

Permanent rulemaking deadline for Dept of Agriculture, others

Jan. 1 2020

Adult Use sales start at up to 55 dispensaries and/or their secondary site

Personal rights kick in for possession, consumption, transportation, etc.

“Purchaser” taxes begin 10% state (+15% for hash)

Counties and cities can begin imposing taxes in small increments, capped at 3.75% county, 3% city

Infused license application and Transporter application released

Potential local votes on taxes, bans

Adult Use Dispensing Organization License Application window closes

Q1 2020

Up to 75 Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization licenses issued by May 1 (47 in Chicago area)

Community College Program application available by Feb. 1

Infuser license application deadline is March 15

Q2 2020

Potential local votes on taxes, bans

Dept of Agriculture begins assessing medical cannabis supply levels quarterly

Growers must begin using a licensed Transporter

Q3 2020

Up to 40 Craft Cultivation licenses issued

Community College Program applications due by July 1

Up to 40 Infused licenses issued by July 1

Transporting licenses issued by July 1

Up to eight Community College Program licenses Issued by September

DUI Task Force recommendations due

Jan. 1 2021

Early Adult Use licenses start expiring

60 more Craft Farm licenses could be approved

Community College Courses could start

Annual program reporting requirements begin

Program adjustments to fees and license allocations can begin

March 31, 2021

Social Equity Inclusion Plans must be completed

Disparity and availability study must be commissioned

Q3 2021

Equity report due by September 30

60 more Infused licensees could be approved by December 2021

60 more Craft Farm licenses could be approved by December 2021

Up to 110 more Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization licenses issued

DUI Task Force dissolves

2022

More Craft Growers could be approved (max 150)

Automatic expungements by ISP

Early Adult Use Dispensing Organization licenses expire March 31

Number of shops, farms, infusers, as well as fees can be modified by Department

2023

Automatic expungements by ISP (Records from 2000 to 2013)

Fees modifiable directly by department, instead of legislature

Assessment of costs of raw materials for infusers

2024

Annual reporting on overall program efficacy plus consumer access, and diversity reporting

2025

Automatic expungements by ISP (records prior to 2000)

Annual reporting on overall program efficacy plus consumer access, and diversity reporting

Number of stores could reach maximum 500 in state

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Americans Spent as Much on Cannabis as Taco Bell Last Year

It’s official: The Crunchwrap is losing ground to the blunt wrap.

With the opening of more and more state-legal markets, cannabis sales are quickly catching up with that of more established products, brands, and services. New data compiled by Marijuana Business Daily shows that Americans spent an estimated $10.4 billion on cannabis last year–about as much as they dropped at the country’s sixth-largest fast food chain, Taco Bell.

Just two years ago, cannabis sales in the US stood at about $6.7 billion.

That $10.4 billion in sales, which combines medical and adult-use markets, was nearly $2 billion more than in 2017. It was also nearly three times the $3.6 billion that Americans spent on e-cigarettes in 2018.

As the industry continues to expand–Illinois is poised to become the 11th state to legalize adult-use cannabis, and Texas just OK’d a massive expansion to its medical marijuana program–it seems only a matter of time until cannabis eclipses other sectors of the American economy. Already there are more legal cannabis-industry employees in the US than there are steelworkers.

Explosive Growth

A number of interconnected factors fueled the industry’s growth in 2018. Perhaps most notably, regulated adult-use sales began in California, making it the largest legal market in the country–perhaps the world. Meanwhile, Utah and Oklahoma opened their doors to medical cannabis, and the latter already has more registered patients than New York state.

As Leafly reported earlier this year, the cannabis industry added 64,000 jobs in 2018 alone, bringing the total number of legal cannabis workers up to nearly a quarter million. On the finance side, investors poured in nearly $10 billion.

“The gradual legalization around the world of a plant which humans have been happily consuming for millennia is creating one of the largest industry-growth phenomena in history,” said Tom Adams, the managing director and principal analyst at BDS Analytics. He’s not exaggerating: Just two years ago, cannabis sales in the US stood at about $6.7 billion.

Goldfish Crackers Today, NFL Tomorrow

The MJBiz analysis made a few other striking comparisons to help contextualize what $10 billion in sales looks like. For instance, it’s about 10 times the roughly $900 million that Americans forked out for Goldfish crackers. It’s just a sliver of the $72.2 billion spent on wine. And it’s more than twice what Americans paid to play the popular video game Fortnite.

Some of the most interesting data points in the report highlight the industries that cannabis is likely to surpass next. The NFL generated $15 billion in 2018, for example. Cannabis is almost guaranteed to blow past that figure in the next few years.

Online food deliveries, meanwhile, added up to $17 billion in 2018. Whether cannabis will pull ahead there remains to be seen–in part because more legal cannabis may in fact lead to more online food deliveries…

Whether cannabis will ever surpass the king of fast food, McDonalds ($36 billion), pizza ($46 billion) or alcohol ($254 billion!) remains to be seen. But no matter how the numbers play out, they tell us that when legal cannabis becomes available, people want it. A lot.

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