Celebrate Valentineâ€™s Day with a bite of chocolate made in the Silver State The Escentials of Terpenes
NEVADA GROWN Wine and cannabis industries share common ground as both take root
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In December 2015 I toured my first fully operational Nevada cultivation. I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect because I had toured a grow in Boulder, Colorado and I had toured grows in Las Vegas that were newly constructed but didn’t have any plants yet. So this was not new ground for me. What I didn’t expect is that I would encounter a cultivator so passionate about growing cannabis. As I stood in the middle of one of the grow rooms at Green Life Productions in Pahrump, I listened as Steve Cantwell told me about his technique of using living soil to grow cannabis, explaining to me, “We don’t feed our plants, we actually grow soil organically…rather than feeding the plant, we feed our soil and our soil, in turn, feeds the plant.” I was not familiar with that particular method. I also hadn’t encountered anyone who used love as an ingredient. “We put a lot of hands-on love on our plants, we interact with the plants, everything is done by hand, and we don’t push buttons and walk away. Everything we do, we do intentionally to love on our plants,” Cantwell told me. It was at that moment that a sense of déjà vu washed over me. I recalled a very similar conversation that I had with a vintner, who coincidentally was located right down the road and was just as exuberant in her love of growing grapes and making wine. Then the light bulb above my head went off. Surely there had to be quite a few parallels
between growing grapes and growing cannabis. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to put Steve Cantwell and Gretchen Loken of Pahrump Valley Winery together to share their zealous passion and knowledge of their craft? As I thought about the story -- well, more like became obsessed with it -- I realized the parallels between Green Life Productions and Pahrump Valley Winery were not just related to farming. Beyond the obvious, that both their facilities were located in Pahrump and they were both run by couples, there was the fact that they both were pioneering industries new to Nevada and that each of them had decided to share their knowledge and growing techniques with other farmers in the state. The idea that they could one day collaborate on a canna-wine might have been an ulterior motive in my oenophile heart as well. And so on that December day the seeds for a story were planted. One year later, we headed to Pahrump to meet with Gretchen and Bill Loken from Pahrump Valley Winery and Steven Cantwell and Kouanin Villa from Green Life Productions. You can read the result of that meeting on page 18, and view the videos we shot that day of the cultivation and vineyard tours, and roundtable discussion at elevatenv.co/nevadagrown and be proud of all the wonderful things that are flourishing in the Silver State. With an open mind,
at elevatenv.com in 2017: elevate, in conjunction with the Growers Network, will be offering a new section specifically designed for cultivators on our website. This month’s feature looks at Vapor Pressure Deficit or the measurement of potential water stress within a plant. Go to elevatenv.com/thegrow to check it out.
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“Amanda Connor is extremely involved with, and committed to, Nevada’s cannabis industry. She’s been a trailblazer in the industry and started serving her clients from its beginning. In terms of cannabis regulation, there is no one more knowledgeable or competent in the state.” --John A. Ritter
Connor & Connor PLLC is a boutique law firm focusing on business formation, transactions, litigation, licensing, and permitting. The attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC understand cannabis law and its intricacies.
www.connorpllc.com | 702.750.9139 /ConnorConnorPllc
Connor & Connor Pllc
HEALING: The Power of Cannabis
Made in Nevada with Love
Local family hopes recent DEA filing won’t affect their child’s treatment options
Health and beauty lotions and potions are just one offshoot of the state’s flourishing medical cannabis industry
Wine and cannabis industries share plenty of common ground
12 Self-medicate with chocolate
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bite of chocolate made in the Silver State
Joe Vargas, creator of Cloud N9ne Hemp Syrup
32 Dispensary Map
A patients’ guide to finding medical cannabis in the Las Vegas Valley
36 26 The Escentials
Cannabis’ aromatherapy component offers a bouquet of healing
2017 Legislative Watch
A preview of Bill Draft Requests for upcoming Nevada Legislative Session february | elevatenv.com
ELEVATE YOUR STATE
Medical cannabis updates from across the United States
MINNESOTA: In December, Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the Minnesota Commissioner of Health, announced the department will add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. Patients who suffer from PTSD and have their doctor’s certification will be eligible to sign up for a medical cannabis card beginning August 2017. Dr. Ehlinger also announced that the department will expand the program by allowing medical cannabis topicals, including patches, lotions, creams, gels, and ointments. Last year, intractable pain was added to the Minnesota program. The program — one of the most limited in the nation — had suffered from a lack of patient participation due to few qualifying conditions.
COLORADO: In November, Denver voters approved a ballot initiative to allow social cannabis use in certain private businesses. Initiated Ordinance 300 (I-300) was too close to call on Election Day, but once all the ballots were counted, it ended up receiving 53.5 percent of the vote. Calling for the implementation of a four-year pilot program, I-300 would allow businesses, including bars, cafés, and even yoga studios, to seek city-issued permits to create “consumption areas.” For private establishments to be permitted by the city to allow adult cannabis consumption in designated areas, establishments will have received formal support from their officially recognized neighborhood organization or businessimprovement district, and recipients will be required to follow a number of guidelines.
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TEXAS: Representative Joe Moody (D-El Paso), former prosecutor and the current Vice Chairman of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, has filed a marijuana-related bill for the upcoming legislative session. Rep. Moody introduced HB 81, which would replace possible arrests and jail time with a civil fine for low-level possession of marijuana. The bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), would make possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine of $250. Under current law, possession of two ounces or less is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail. Senator Jose Rodríguez, also of El Paso, introduced a Senate companion bill, SB 170.
OHIO: Four Ohio communities passed local ordinances reducing penalties for marijuana possession to none. Adopting the new measures on Election Day, Ohio residents voted to remove all penalties for the possession of 200 grams or less of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia with no jail time or fines under local ordinance. The towns of Bellaire, Logan, Newark, and Roseville each adopted similar ballot measures. The measures only affect violations in those jurisdictions, not the whole county. Similar efforts are already underway in Cleveland, Lorain and a handful of other communities.
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NEW YORK: On Dec. 1, the New York Department of Health announced that it will add chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the state’s medical marijuana program. The Department will develop a proposed regulatory amendment, which will include language specifying the chronic pain conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana. Under current law, patients only qualify if their pain is caused by qualifying conditions. The other ten qualifying conditions are cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, and Huntington's disease.
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HEALING THE POWER OF MEDICINAL CANNABIS
LOCAL FAMILY HOPES RECENT DEA FILING WON’T AFFECT THEIR CHILD’S
“It’s asinine, absolutely asinine,” observes Las Vegan Jed Snyder of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) December fi ling of a fi nal rule notice to establish a Controlled Substances Code Number for CBD and hemp as a Schedule I drug. “We need to research this. Schedule I says that there is no medical benefit -- well how do you know that? How do you know that unless you research it? You have to have the scientists and medical researchers research this and let them tell your office that it has no medical value. But it’s like a catch-22, you can’t make a statement like that unless you have the research and you don’t have the research to make that statement.” Nicholas Snyder is pictured with Snyder is very passionate about the DEA’s recent his father and brothers. fi ling because his 12-year-old son, Nicholas, takes hemp oil to control seizures resulting from Dravet Syndrome, watching and looking at each other with our mouths which is a rare genetic epileptic encephalopathy. open. And we were crying,” explains Snyder. “The Prior to taking hemp oil, Nicholas, who had his fi rst next night I called Dr. Shackelford’s office (a Colorado seizure when he was four months old and was officially physician who Dr. Gupta consulted in “Weed”) and diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome when he was onehe came on the phone and gave me an hour. I couldn’t and-a-half years old, suffered on average one grand mal believe it. We had a great conversation and I explained seizure per week. He started taking hemp oil in January 2015 and his seizures diminished Nicholas is pictured at equine-assisted therapy. dramatically. “The fi rst six The ﬁrst six months after he months after he started the started the oil, we didn’t oil, we didn’t change anything change anything else, no else, no other factors changed other factors changed with with Nicholas’ daily regimen and so we are confident in Nicholas’ daily regimen and so we are conﬁdent saying there was something in in saying there was something in this oil that this oil that helped him to go helped him to go from 45 seizures that he would from 45 seizures that he would have had in six months to two have had in six months to two or three." or three.” Jed Snyder and his wife found out about hemp and about Nicholas and he said the best thing you can do is CBD oil during the summer of 2013 when they were talk to your Congressmen and tell them your story. And watching Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary about that’s before we even tried it.” cannabis. “We saw “Weed” and my wife and I were
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In the fall of 2013 when the Snyders decided they wanted to try CBD oil, they weren’t the only ones. After Dr. Gupta’s documentary put a spotlight on Charlotte Figi, who also suffers from Dravet Syndrome, as well as the Stanley Brothers and their Charlotte’s Web (CW) CBD oil (named for Figi), they were inundated with orders. To meet the overwhelming demand for CBD oil, the Stanley Brothers started growing hemp to make an extract similar to the CBD oil they had created. “They started producing hemp because they can grow more hemp faster and it reduced the long waiting list they had,” explains Snyder who was on a waiting list for the oil until January 2015. “When we started the oil, we had high hopes but we really didn’t know what to expect,” says Snyder of the CW Hemp whole-plant extract Nicholas takes that has a ratio of roughly 20/25:1 CBD to THC. “Nicholas’ improvement has been amazing. He still has the seizures, but when he is not having them his quality of life is so much more improved. He is clear headed, he is more focused, he is more verbal, he sits, he listens better...his balance, his walking, his gait is much improved. There’s that whole other part of him that is much improved.” As far as Nicholas’ continued improvement, in
a letter dated December 14th the Stanley Brothers assured their patient base that they will still be able to get their medicine in spite of the DEA’s recent actions. “They basically said the bottom line is to remain calm, your lives will not be disrupted by this ruling and that the ruling is not constitutional,” Snyder conveys of the correspondence he received regarding Nicholas’ medicine. “They also encouraged us to tell our Congressmen to make the DEA back off hemp by finally removing the legal barriers.” Snyder was a step ahead of that directive having heeded Dr. Shackelford’s advice. He had already become an activist working with an organization called ‘A Coalition for Access Now’ founded by Charlotte Figi’s mother, Paige, which is working on getting federal bills, HR 1635 and companion SB 1333, passed, to reschedule CBD from Schedule 1. “I always kind of thought it was ironic that for decades the people who argued against any kind of legislation of cannabis were concerned about the children -- using the argument how can you have this available where children will have access? And, now, in recent years it’s been one of the biggest impetuses for medical cannabis. Sick children have been the ones prompting the news and getting this out there.”
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DISPENSARY SPOTLIGHT Canopi canopi.com 2113 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89030 1324 S. 3rd Street, Las Vegas, NV 89104 6540 Blue Diamond Road, Las Vegas, NV 89139 (restricted hours)
TOP SELLING STRAIN(S) | Blue Dream and GriZ Kush TOP SELLING CONCENTRATE(S) Scarlet Oil Works TOP SELLING EDIBLE(S) | Incredibles, Wana and Mountain High Suckers TOPICAL(S) | CBD Topical from CWHemp products (including topical Help Oil Gel-Pen) MISSION STATEMENT | To inspire and nurture the human spirit with sun grown cannabis from our farm to you – one patient at a time. PHILOSOPHY | With the largest selection of artisanal strains of cannabis, Canopi’s growing philosophy is to offer the highest quality available in the market. Regarding Canopi’s commitment to quality, there are certain principles they follow: “Our cannabis has always been, and will always be, about quality. We’re passionate about ethically delivering the finest medical marijuana for our patients’ consumption. We are passionate about serving our patients’ needs and delivering the highest quality cannabis and cannabis products from farm to table,” elaborates Sara Kennedy, Marketing Manager of CWNevada LLC. RANGE OF PRODUCTS | Canopi is planning to carry CWNevada’s line of products, including: Real Sun Grown Flower, Tikun Olam, Scarlet Oil Works, Caviar Gold, Incredibles, Wana, Med-AMints, Mountain High Suckers, Neos,
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and Dream Steam. Canopi will also be offering many other major brands. PARTNERSHIPS | Canopi, and its parent company CWNevada, LLC, is the exclusive distributor of Charlotte’s Web (CW™ Hemp) in Nevada. CUSTOMER SERVICE | At Canopi, patients come first so, in turn, the dispensary’s staff is trained to cater to the needs of all patients and is able to help guide patients to the products that may offer the best solution to their ailments. Canopi is eager to know if there is a certain product patients love or something that could be better so they can supply it or something similar. Canopi’s founders endeavor to satisfy the needs of their patients with a wide selection and low prices and so first-time patients will receive 20 percent off all products, flower and CWBotanicals excluded. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS | Canopi offers one-on-one consultations with trained patient consultants who offer insight, education and can answer any questions or concerns patients may have. STAFF EDUCATION | After members of the Canopi team are hired, they are trained on the company’s history and why Canopi chose to become a leader within Nevada’s cannabis industry. Canopi also shares the impactful patient story that provided the foundation and legitimacy for the
importance of medical marijuana. All Canopi staff members undergo rigorous training on the products and strains offered receiving in-depth and continuous education in order to be knowledgeable in all aspects of the dispensary’s product offerings and potential patient needs. Additionally, all brands that Canopi carries have a brand ambassador who is available for more in-depth questions as well as to ensure the staff has the most up-to-date information on products. CHARITABLE ENDEAVORS | Canopi’s founders have made it their mission to not lose sight of helping patients and making sure they have access to the medicine they need. With that goal in mind, Canopi’s founders are actively in the process of starting a 501©3 non-profit in association with parent company CWNevada, LLC. to promote their continued dedication to the education, awareness, and availability of cannabis medication for patients.
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TREATS FOR THE SWEET CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY WITH A BITE OF CHOCOLATE MADE IN THE SILVER STATE By Justin Alexander
Chocoholics can rejoice, Nevada’s dispensaries have more chocolate on hand than Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Medical marijuana patients have truly won the golden ticket when it comes to medicating with the rich cocoa elixir that melts in your mouth. Now that chocolate abounds, how much should you take? That seems to be the most common question for an edible user. The best answer? Always remember with edibles to start low and go slow. Chocolate produces a unique high -- it comes on gradually but is long-lasting so it is recommended to wait at least 45 minutes before increasing a dose. “It can vary depending on a patient's height, weight, metabolism, and tolerance to cannabis,” Christie Strong of Kiva Confections explains of ingesting edibles. “Edibles can last anywhere from four to eight hours depending on the dose—and even longer with higher THC amounts. We always recommend new patients start with 5 mg of THC to start and then wait two hours for the full effects before increasing their dose. Once a patient understands their tolerance, they can feel free to target the experience they want to have.”
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INCREDIBLES Inspired by unique flavor combinations, Incredibles has a lineup of chocolate bars that includes everything from Salted Pistachio Mint to Dark Chocolate Roasted Habaneros & Raspberries. Steven Chang, national sales director for Incredibles, says that with the creativity of chefs today in the cannabis industry, the sky's the limit on edible flavors. Chang counts the Peanut Budda Buddha Bar as his personal favorite and offers a special recipe. “Make a grilled-cheese sandwich, but sub the cheese for squares of PBB and add your choice of jam,” he says. “Chocolate bars are also great to use in other recipes that make it even more fun to eat cannabis. Plus, chocolate has a lot of other benefits that are good for you, such as lowering cholesterol levels.” Incredibles confections are a superb delivery system for hash oil—and easy for the body to absorb and digest. “The oil is a hybrid mix,” Chang says. “So much changes from harvest, extraction, decarboxylation, infusion and ingestion. That final oil is never going to be dominant sativa or indica, therefore you will always have a hybrid experience.”
KIVA “Our standards are incredibly high—if the taste doesn't make us want to dance, then it's back to the drawing board,” explains Christie Strong, Kiva Confections marketing communications manager, of Kiva’s chocolate bars. With a motto of “dedication to deliciousness,” Kiva meets that high standard by acquiring beans from around the world, using 54 percent cacao semisweet for its dark chocolate and 34 percent for milk chocolate. Then, a cold-water hash process infuses the product with local cannabis, resulting in medicine that is ideal for a variety of ailments that includes insomnia, anxiety, pain, and appetite stimulation. The key to any great cannabis confection, especially in a chocolate format, is cocoa butter that binds with THC to create a delicious earthy taste profile. Kiva uses an extremely thorough testing method on its hybrid-strain confections that includes
analysis of the raw cannabis product used to infuse the chocolates and final quality control to make sure everything is consistent.
DIXIE There are a few really good reasons why Dixie’s chocolate tastes so good. First are the ingredients. Dixie uses some of the most premium chocolate in the world, Callebaut chocolate from Belgium, which has a flavor so rich it masks the flavor of the THC oil. In addition, the cocoa butter bonds to the THC oil easily, preserving texture and taste so there is no need for unnatural
flavoring. To achieve more interesting flavor profiles, Dixie also uses unique ingredients in their recipes such as Himalayan sea salt and pumpkin seeds. But most importantly is the variety of ailments and conditions a square of Dixie chocolate can melt away. Preferred by those who don’t smoke or are having a hard time chewing or swallowing, patients with asthma, COPD, certain types of cancers, or other ailments affecting their throat and lungs like Dixie’s chocolate because it easily melts in their mouth such as the brand’s Peppermint Dark Chocolate with 500 mg of THC -a truly astounding product that maintains incredible taste with high potency.
KYND Kynd Cannabis Company has been collaborating with a northern Nevada chocolatier since last fall to create the first of its flagship chocolate bars. “Our newly expanded product line begins with our dark chocolate and milk chocolate bars, but we will quickly develop into more chocolate crafted products through 2017,” says Scott Dunseath, Kynd co-owner and vice president of marketing, of the brand’s chocolate product line that launched in January. With ten doses per bar available in potencies of indica, sativa and hybrid, Kynd’s 37-gram bars actually taste like their names suggest -- a divine blend of real chocolate.
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KABUNKY With a candy store size variety of offerings, Kabunky has a sweet tasting medible to suit every palate. Packed with authentic flavor that will please the most discerning chocolate lover, a bestseller with patients is Kabunky’s Cookies ‘n Cream Chocolate Bar. It tastes like a creamy crunchy scoop of its namesake ice cream. Patients can dig into this bite of dessert to relieve anxiety or pain. Even better, Kabunky doesn’t use chocolate just in its bars— they also make chews which are a soft and easy way to take your medicine. The texture and taste of the chews can most closely be described as similar to a Tootsie Roll. While chocolate is a kind of medicine all on its own, when infused with cannabis there are exponential benefits for both the mind and body.
EVERGREEN ORGANIX When you are in need of a brain boost or even a lift in your mood, break off a square of an Evergreen Organix chocolate bar,
let it melt on your tongue, and you will soon be on your way to a higher plain. “We start with high-grade chef’s chocolate and infuse it with CO2 extracted cannabis oil,” explains Jillian Nelson, operations manager for Evergreen Organix. “Chocolate is difficult to infuse because it doesn’t easily mix with cannabis oil, so the chocolate has to be mixed for several hours to make sure we are dosing evenly.” Evergreen— which doses bars at around 350 mg—has an array of chocolate bar varieties using strains of indica, sativa and hybrid flower. A standout is Evergreen’s dark chocolate bar, which has a lovely, bittersweet, rich and smooth texture. “Patients should consume based on their specific needs and usage history, but new users are best to start with less than one piece of chocolate since our bars are portioned into 24 break-off pieces,” adds Nelson.
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Top Shelf Is Our Only Shelf.
Peanut Butter Blazin’ Trail Bar also available: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Introducing the new BLAZIN’ TRAIL BAR from VERT, delicious granola goodness infused with high-quality cannabis. It’s part of our collection of all-natural creations made by our own master chef – all with consistent dosing to elevate your experience in every possible way. Look for VERT Blazin’ Trail Bars and VERT Bites at your favorite dispensary.
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Introducing KANNABIS, top-grade marijuana cultivated in an eco-friendly environment with no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Because you should never have to settle for anything less than the gold standard.
As a discerning patient, inquire about KANNABIS at your dispensary of choice.
february | elevatenv.com
Made in Nevada with
Health and beauty lotions and potions are just one offshoot of the state’s ﬂourishing medical cannabis industry by by Beth Beth Schwartz Schwartz
HEALING INFUSION Morgan Rebentisch and her husband infused their personal bath and body products with a marijuana extract to such “amazing success” that they started sharing their products with family and friends. “We saw how much relief they were getting from them and wanted to share our products with our community,” explained Rebentisch of how Infused was born. “We developed our Infused CBD product line to provide individuals with the healing benefits of cannabis that could not or would not partake in the THC side of the industry.” Made in Nevada, Infused is a THC-free non-psychoactive line of cannabis products offering powerful relief that includes pain relief cream and body lotion, oil, scrub, and butter. “We use the highest quality cannabis extracts combined with certified organic ingredients at prices affordable on any budget,” said Rebentisch. “Our products are time tested and are free of toxins and harmful ingredients.” infusedmfg.com 16
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COVERED IN KYNDESS Kynd Balm was developed as a result of a hole in the market. “We
saw a need in the market for a topical product that would offer the benefits of both THCA and CBD,” explained Cara Pitchford of Kynd Cannabis Company. “Our goal was to create something soothing and therapeutic that would provide relief for a long list of ailments.” Kynd Balm has a 2:1 CBD to THCA ratio. “When you use our balm, you’ll enjoy the full benefits of CBD and the non-psychoactive benefits of THCA,” said Pitchford. “Our balm soothes a wide range of skin, muscle and joint health issues. It also supports cell production, anti-inflammation and vasodilation for faster healing.” Kynd’s balm is created with CO2-extracted oil and a blend of essential oils. “It brings relief to an amazingly broad range of ailments, making it a wonderful all-around ointment effective for muscle, joint and skin issues,” explained Pitchford. kynd.com
BODY AND MIND Right out of the gate, BaM is taking a different route than the rest of
the topical makers in the market. “We infuse with both CBD and THC to set ourselves apart from all the hemp derived stuff we are seeing coming in from Colorado. We try to achieve a 1:1 ratio or equal amounts of both ingredients,” explained BaM’s head cultivator Don Decatur. “Both CBD and THC have their own unique effects when using topicals so we like to have the combination of both to get a well-rounded effect.” Included in the BaM lineup of topicals is an Energy Coffee Bean Scrub, Pain Relief Spray, and Relax Lavender Lotion. “We are trying to include a large amount per product and put at least 100 milligrams of THC and CBD in every product so that would be significantly more active ingredient than what is currently available,” revealed Decatur. For those concerned about THC showing up in drug tests, Decatur assures that won’t be an issue. “Topicals do not penetrate the bloodstream, so you won’t get the psychoactive effect that’s associated with THC. It’s a nice way to get the effects without testing positive for THC.” bammarijuana.com
NATURALLY GOOD Evergreen Organix eased into the topical market with just a bath bomb and lip balm but quickly found patients were using their lip balm everywhere but on their kissers. “We got some really good feedback, such as people were actually using the lip balm on small areas of their body where they had eczema or psoriasis and it worked really well,” explained Jillian Nelson, Evergreen Organix Operations Manager. “We then expanded into doing the body cream and intimacy oil.” Evergreen’s intimacy oil took off much in the same vein as their lip balm. “We originally developed that with the idea of putting it on very sensitive areas of the body,” Nelson said of the oil which is made with only cannabis and fractionated coconut oil. “But we found that women have even been using it to help with menstrual cramps by making their own cannabis-infused tampons.” Evergreen’s full line of topical products, all made from natural ingredients, includes an Infused Massage Oil, Avocado Lemongrass Face and Body Cream, Lavender Mint Lip Balm, and THC/CBD Infused Botanix Bath Bomb. Evergreen’s most recent product release is a Herbal Relief Salve that’s a THC and CBD blend of essential oils, including menthol, camphor, and turmeric for people who are looking for something to help with arthritis or muscle pain. Nelson, who notes Evergreen doesn’t use petroleum jelly or paraffin wax products, said, “Our dedication to using only natural ingredients is what makes us unique.” evergreenorganix.com february | elevatenv.com
NEVADA GROWN WINE AND CANNABIS INDUSTRIES SHARE PLENTY OF COMMON GROUND AS BOTH TAKE ROOT by Beth Schwartz
The sleepy little town of Pahrump, Nevada, roughly 60 miles from Las Vegas, is well-known for many things, most not deserving of being mentioned here. Lesser known is that Pahrump is home to two burgeoning industries that have the potential to play a substantive role in diversifying the state’s economic future. Their status as relatively new industries in a tiny little sliver of the Silver State is just one of the things wine and cannabis have in common. Pahrump, with a population of approximately 37,000, is home to Pahrump Valley Winery (PVW), which has been quietly pressing and stomping its way to grapeness for 15 years under the direction of owners Bill and Gretchen Loken. The tiny Nye County town is also home to Green Life Productions (GLP), which, at roughly two years old, is a medical cannabis cultivation run by Steve Cantwell and Kouanin Villa, and is part of the state’s newly unrolled cannabis industry. Even though their facilities are a mere 2.4 miles apart, the two couples who run Pahrump Valley Winery and Green Life had never formally met until elevate brought them together for this story to discuss the similarities and differences between the wine and cannabis industries and their journeys as entrepreneurs.
PIONEERING AN INDUSTRY The most obvious similarity the two entities share is being pioneers in industries that are both growing new roots in Nevada. PVW is one of only three wineries in the state, and the cannabis industry just began operation in 2015. “We are just starting to explore cannabis while they already have a system that has pretty much been outlined by generations and generations of winemakers,” said Steve, who manages cultivation at Green Life. “So it’s kind of cool to see an evolved industry that has matured and works through all the problems. They have already foreseen all the potential challenges and they have really got it narrowed down to what works and how to do it. We are still in a new industry, where we are still actively running
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into those walls and figuring out how to tear them down on the spot and rebuild them.” As Steve noted, winemakers have been around for generations but in Nevada’s case it has been a more recent addition to the state’s agriculture sector. “The wine industry basically didn’t exist in Nevada 13, 14, 15 years ago,” explained Bill, who handles marketing and operations at the winery. “Very few people really believed that you could actually develop a wine industry, a legitimate one, in the state of Nevada.” In spite of being in the beginning stages of an industry new to the state, it hasn’t taken long for the Lokens and PVW to find success and accolades. To date, the winery produces on average 100,000 bottles of wine a year and has garnered 450 national wine awards. Although surprised by their success, the Lokens were even more pleased with pulling off the impossible. “That is the biggest satisfaction we get out of this -- is doing something that nobody believed could be done,” explained Bill. Bill believes that will be a motivating factor for Steve and Kouanin also. “The industry that you are in is in its embryonic stages so you have an opportunity to really be on the cutting edge and be a leader in something that’s not being done in Nevada and so I think you are going to find a lot of energy in that and I think that’s going to sustain you.” Steve concurred, but cited the difficulty of being on the ground floor of a new industry. “It’s exciting but at times it can be nerve wracking. It can be overwhelming because we don’t know whether to lead or follow at times. Your inclination is to look at the guy next to you to see what he is doing, but at the same time you want to do your own thing and don’t want to get caught up with everybody else and their flow.” Although overwhelmed by pioneering a new industry, when Steve took the long view and looked 15 years down the road through Bill’s eyes, he was encouraged. “It’s really exciting
to be inspired by what others are doing. We heard their story for the first time today, of how they brought the wine industry to Nevada. They crossed barriers that people told them they couldn’t cross and we have done a lot of the same things in our industry in these first two years as well. Implementing the growing system we have developed and using the technologies that we have used has allowed us to overcome those same barriers. It kind of gives me inspiration to hear about people who have successfully overcome those obstacles.”
WEED VERSUS WINE Prior to sitting down for this story, elevate arranged for both teams to tour one another’s respective grow and vineyard. “There were a surprising amount of parallels as far as both the growing side and production side that I really didn’t perceive before,” allowed Steve. As PVW’s winemaker, Gretchen, agreed, noting the many similarities especially as far as the sequence of the growing cycle. “You start with the vegetative side then you move it to the reproductive side. Then it needs so much time before it’s ready to actually harvest. It’s harvested and then it needs to cure and then you actually have a product from it. Grapes are the same way, they go through all those different stages. So, to me, it was learning the cycle and finding out that the cannabis plant is very similar to the grapevine.” Although there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also some slight variations in how each is grown. Bill offered a metaphor, “it is a little bit like camping out versus living in a really nice luxury condo.” In explanation, Bill continued, “I would say that their process is much more scientific and they have much tighter control by handling everything inside. The incredible cutting edge farming that they use is really quite fascinating. So I see a very internalized, very controlled environment that’s going
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through the same processes, if you will, whereas we are kind of old-school. We are out there in the elements using whatever soil Gretchen harvests Zinfandel the earth has grapes at the winery. given us today and dealing with the weather and other exterior elements.” The cutting edge growing style that Bill refers to is Steve’s living soil method that he utilizes to nurture Green Life’s cannabis. “The way we grow is different from 99 out of a 100 facilities -- not just here in Nevada but throughout the industry in general. The cornerstone of our cultivation is really our living organic soil. We use no-till concepts and natural farming concepts to get it done. What this means is we don’t feed our plants, we actually grow soil organically… rather than feeding the plant, we feed our soil and our soil, in turn, feeds the plant.” “I am actually jealous that they get to camp out and I have to sleep in this condo,” Steve replied, in answer to Bill’s observation. “What we are trying to do in the condo is replicate what they are doing outside -- just allowing nature to take its course. It’s a beautiful process and they have their vast differences, but I think there are more similarities than there are differences. We are both making quality product and focusing on the needs of the plants and small details that make the big differences.”
THE TASTE OF TERPENES Terpenes is another similarity that is instrumental to the success of both cannabis and grapes. “Terpene is a natural element in grapes. In certain grapes, depending
on the wine, you want different levels of terpenes,” explained Gretchen. “For something like Sauvignon Blanc you want the terpenes -- that’s what gives it that beautiful kind of grassy nose and that lemongrass aspect. But with Cabernet Sauvignon you don’t want that high level of terpenes. You want to make sure the grapes are ripe so
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that it minimizes that. So we work with them pretty much the same way.” With regard to cannabis, in addition to taste and smell, terpenes also take on a medicinal role. “The first thing people want to do when they open a jar of cannabis is to smell it. The smell and the taste are two of the biggest factors in cannabis as I imagine they are in certain wines,” observed Steve. “We take it a step further and look at the individual medicinal effects to see what each terpene can help with. We try to use some of the science and research out there and really try to have a broad spectrum of terpenes to help a broad spectrum of illnesses. Pinene, for instance, is a bronchodilator or it helps people focus more. Another terpene, myrcene, is more for people to relax, it’s more of a sedative, and it also helps the cannabinoids break the blood-brain barrier so you can feel the effects faster.”
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SEEDS & WEED VS. VINES & WINE Cannabis is grown from seeds, whereas in the vineyard they begin with vines. “We have to buy our vines from a certified nursery in California,” offered Gretchen. “You buy a grafted vine, you never deal with seeds when you are growing grapevines. The vines have already been grafted at least a year and then you bring them in and plant them.” Vintners have much more leeway as far as jurisdiction with regard to where they can get their product from compared to cannabis farmers. “We can’t bring in seeds from out of state. Under state regulation we have to One of the grow rooms at Green Life Productions. get them from within Nevada’s borders,” explained Steve of cannabis. “They basically have to be donated from a legal patient. It really is a gray area because there really is no indigenous marijuana in Nevada so, at some point, all the seeds have crossed state lines.”
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“The other thing we can do, which wouldn’t work for cannabis since you can’t cross state lines,” Gretchen added with regard to sourcing, “is if we wanted to add a new wine, we can just buy those grapes from a grower in another state. We could just bring in the grapes and have a whole new wine. So we have got much more freedom in how we can expand than the cannabis industry does.” In fact buying grapes from California growers was initially the way PVW used to make all of their wine. Then in the early aughts the Lokens decided to try their hand Steve Cantwell and Gretchen Loken are pictured in Pahrump Valley Winery’s cellar. at planting vines and growing their own grapes in Nevada’s soil. Following their first harvest in 2005, PVW sold Nevada’s first commercial estate red wine, Nevada Ridge, in 2008. They now grow Syrah and Zinfandel grapes on two acres of the winery’s grounds. The Lokens also source grapes for their wine from farmers in Nevada’s Armargosa Valley, Fish Lake Valley, and Crystal Heights.
After finding success making wine from grapes grown in Nevada and realizing it could be done, Bill decided to start working with Nevada’s alfalfa farmers to teach them about growing grapes. “The economic benefit for grape growers is much higher than the alfalfa and it uses 15 percent of the water that alfalfa does. So they make more money, use less water, and can help grow the wine industry in Nevada,” explained Bill. Steve, too, has been working with area farmers to broaden the cannabis industry. “We have actually spoken to several alfalfa farmers about growing hemp. We have also talked to other cultivators in other jurisdictions as far as cultivating methods using our organic system and replacing their hydroponic system. We are trying to do everything we can to spread the good news both on the cannabis front and the organic soil front. We are just really passionate about what we are doing, we believe in it.”
NATURALLY GROWN PARTNERS In addition to helping others, the two Pahrump neighbors have been helping one another. Steve has been using pumice from the winery to make compost for the cultivation. “One of the biggest parts of our living soil system is our compost and there are only a few really good compost companies out there that make compost to my standards. We don’t want to use bottled nutrients from hydroponic stores in our soil or compost, we want to make as much of it as possible
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on site. So we gathered their pumice which is basically all their pressings, stems, skins, and seeds,” explained Steve. “We have a specific recipe with carbon nitrogen levels that we are trying to reach. We have to get everything tested prior to the third-party Kouanin Villa and Steve Cantwell, owners of Green Life Productions composting process. So prior to actually putting it in a pile we have to have the pumice tested just to make sure there are no pesticides or fungicides. So kudos to them that everything came back clean,” Steve said with an approving nod to the Lokens, “if it was cannabis, it would have passed state regulations. So, yes, we threw that in our compost pile. That was more of our fruit component to add some more sweet taste and potassium versus just nitrogen.” With a partnership already somewhat in bloom, elevate wondered if the two entrepreneurs would consider working with one another to create a canna-wine or tincture. Bill and Gretchen Loken, owners of Pahrump Valley Winery “I would absolutely be inclined,” Bill enthusiastically responded. “The regulations are going to have to change a lot before we are able to do that on a consumer level because right now it’s very tight, it’s got to be medicinal.” Steve agreed, “I think that would be excellent. I can see lots of ways that both sides can enjoy sharing their knowledge and product. I would love to possibly grow some organic soil grapes and see if we can also bring those grape profiles up and potentially make a sweeter profile. I would be interested in getting a plot of grapes going here soon.” Bill added, “Not only would I be very open to it, but I would be tickled at the idea of doing it at the very moment that it is legal because it would be not only cutting edge, but it would be another Nevada product. We love this whole idea about growing Nevada. They,” he concluded with chuckle and a nod to Steve and Kouanin, “are literally growing Nevada, too, but it has taken on a whole new dimension now.”
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THE ESCENTIALS CANNABIS’ AROMATHERAPY COMPONENT OFFERS A BOUQUET OF HEALING By Richard S. Gubbe
randmothers of old promoted natural healing remedies and used them without knowing what the actual content was or how they worked. Grandma said plants and trees produced a cure for almost any ailment, and out of faith we believed. Much of what granny said would work actually does and we are finally getting proof by identifying each of the compounds involved. Ask 100 educated people what a terpene is and you may find one or two who knows they are part of our daily lives and have been since the first plant popped up. Enter any cannabis dispensary, take a big whiff and you will smell everything from pine to citrus. Ingesting the terpenes found in cannabis plants can ease the most challenging of conditions ranging from seizures to PTSD. Unfortunately, there isn’t much research available about what this natural collection of molecules does for the human body. We know strains of cannabis have different organic compound mixtures of terpenes and cannabinoids that attach to receptors in the body, particularly in the brain, and can be healing. But lesser known are delivery methods, dosages, and mixtures. Compare finding your ideal strain to the business of taking pharmaceuticals where a doctor tells you what you need, how much, and the delivery method. The doctor makes a calculated, educated guess as to what may help you and how much to give you. For medical cannabis, that is now the role of the dispensary
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worker to know. But buyer beware, the information can vary. And yet, patients can now make an educated guess on their own as to what is needed to reduce or relieve symptoms with a little bit of research.
THE BOTANY OF IT ALL The discovery of terpenes and their interaction with cannabinoids has created a new science that is in need of exploring. Terpenes, advocates say, create a synergy of effects that have healing results. The cannabinoid THC has long been known to help with pain and anxiety relief to name a few, but how it interacts with other cannabinoids and terpenes when received by receptors in the body is the key to better servicing patients. Think of the synergy as if you are making an angel food cake. If you leave out the vanilla, does it change the taste, the outcome? Absolutely. But we won’t die from a change in the recipe. Approximately 200 terpenes have been found in cannabis. Among them are monoterpenes, diterpenes and sesquiterpenes, which are characterized by the number of repeating units of a 5-carbon molecule called isoprene, the structural hallmark of all terpenoid compounds. Terpenes, or isoprenoids, provide cannabis with its inviting aroma. Terpenes deter insect predation, protect plants from environmental stresses, and act as building blocks for more complex molecules such as cannabinoids. Many terpenes act synergistically with one another, and some either catalyze or inhibit formation of different compounds within a plant.
Understanding how terpenes function can allow scientists and doctors to manipulate cannabinoids to desired ratios. Terpenoids and cannabinoids are said to increase blood flow, enhance cortical activity, and kill respiratory infections, including MRSA. They can also prevent fungus or act as an antibiotic. Terpenes and CBD can also buffer THC’s tricky psycho-activity. Terpenes are active aromatic molecules that evaporate easily. Various researchers have emphasized the pharmacological importance of terpenes, or terpenoids, which form the basis of aromatherapy, a popular holistic healing modality.
WHAT GRANDMA DIDN’T KNOW Marijuana’s compelling fragrance and particular psychoactive flavor are born from predominate terpenes in a strain. Terpenes work the same as cannabinoids by attaching to cannabinoid receptors. The delivery of terpenes in tinctures, oils and concentrates is where the debate begins as to which is better for the patient. Smoking it, purists claim, is the best form of unleashing these healing compounds. Most cannabis varieties have been bred and crossbred to contain high levels of THC while other cannabinoids like CBD become miniscule. Different harvests may demonstrate different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing and curing techniques. Lab testing is the only way of knowing a strain’s terpene potency. Matching the terpene profile and cannabinoid profiles to fit a patient’s needs is the best way to achieve the synergistic effects desired. The bad news is they dissipate, just like a room deodorizer. The challenge is to keep the bud fresh or, when extracting terpenes from the bud, to capture them quickly, keep them cool and turn them into a concentrate or mix them in a cartridge or syringe.
NOW THAT’S A NICE PROFILE
Matthew Gardiner, the VP at Shango, beams when giving tours of his vertical facility on Boulder Highway. As a corporation, Shango has experience in Oregon and Washington and created a grow house in Las Vegas of at least 3,000 plants that cycle through the curing process to the bud packaging or extraction rooms. Each room is full of busy, gowned employees who take cannabis from the cultivation through production to the dispensary. Gardiner says extracting terpenes quickly is crucial, as he holds up a vial of a golden mixture made from a Shango strain. The staff also mixes terpenes with CBD and THC to create vaping cartridges while every day gaining more knowledge of their interaction, notes Gardiner. Shango and other growers are learning how to enhance terpene content by altering grow techniques that include stressing the plant or using different food. When you ask Gardiner or any other grower about data, the response is generally: “That’s proprietary.”
The only thing not present at Shango is a testing lab. Labs are primarily regulatory, but they also are gold mines for data collection. Darryl Johnson is the scientific director of Ace Analytical Laboratory in Las Vegas and has a Ph.D. in bioanalytical chemistry from the University of Georgia. As a former Research Chemist Fellow at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the author of eight peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, he’s far more than a lab tech. Testing the profile is Johnson’s way to assure Nevada patients that they only get the good stuff, the clean stuff. As far as data goes, Nevada, with its stringent testing regulations, is at the forefront of research. “We’re just scratching the surface,” Johnson says. “But we have more data than anyone else has ever compiled. A year from now we’re going to laugh at how much we learned.” There is no typical terpene profile. For instance, in one batch, the strain Tropicanna had a state-tested percentage of more than 10 milligrams per gram of myrcene as well as generous amounts of limonene and pinene and a lot of THC. Anything more than two to four percent of a terpene in a profile is a lot. The profile comes in samplings taken from the bud. For concentrates, the profile contains everything in the oil. Concentrates and cartridges can now boast 75 to 90 percent THC with small amounts of terpenes and other cannabinoids. Concentrates come directly from the extraction of the plant of one strain. For the Tropicanna bud sample, the THC level tested above 26 percent with a low CBD count. Small amounts of terpenes and CBD can dip as low as .01 or lower. “Those miniscule amounts may have more of an impact than you know,” says Johnson, who believes that as much as 75 percent of terpenes can be lost after the plant is cut down. “Rosin press preserves terpenes pretty well,” he continues, “but the concentrates are missing something. I prefer the flower. I’ll always prefer flower.” Hugo Alonso, a chemist at New Heights Laboratory, says different testing results can come from testing different parts of the bud. “Parts of the plant are even stronger than others,” Alonso says. “Concentrate would be more accurate to measure terpenes.” He also believes terpenes are fleeting and he simplifies the process to “just keep it cold, heat it fast, and cool it down again.”
JUST LIKE GRANDMA USED TO GROW When Jay Crozier was a little boy, his grandma gave him a marijuana tincture if he ever started to get sick. She was growing pot in the 1940s for medicinal purposes and taught him how to grow, and how to stay healthy. A 46-year-old, off-the-grid grower, Crozier remembers grandma telling him of a Native American Indica tincture in
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the 1930s made illegal in 1941. “I never got sick,” he says of using it. “When I was young we used to get pepper bud out of Canada that smelled like black pepper.” He’s spent his life learning how to grow cannabis to get the most out of it. “I’m just into the medical aspect of it,” he says. “I make sure the medicine is grown right, otherwise, you’re not getting the full benefit.” Growers can accomplish that by not cutting down plants early and curing them properly, he says, “It’s taken me 30 years to know what I know.” He’s been extracting since 1998 but never knew there were multiple substances involved. “We knew terpenes added flavor but we thought they were part of THC because they were oily,” he explains. Crozier warns that synthetic terpenes are dangerous. “They need to be banned,” he relays. “Freshly pressed rosin is solventfree and just pressed from the flower. And live resin distillates -- they’re great, too.”
MAKING A TERPENE PIE In 2011 the British Journal of Pharmacology discussed the wide-ranging therapeutic attributes of terpenoids, which are typically lacking in CBD-only products. The article reported that cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions “could produce synergy with
respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.” Dr. Bonni Goldstein puts that into practice combining terpenes with CBD. She is the medical director of Canna-Centers, a group of medical practices throughout California that educate patients on the use of cannabis therapy. The terpenoid called betacaryophyllene has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and she uses that in combination with CBD to see what works in children to end epileptic seizures. “I really believe that that’s one of the compounds that is very important for a child who has seizures,” she told Project CBD in California. She believes neuro-inflammation causes seizures and has had numerous success stories taking them away. One of her small clients went from 60 seizures a day to zero by using a CBDterpene mix. Martin A. Lee of Project CBD believes the synergy of CBD and terpenes is a key to many afflictions he’s seen Dr. Goldstein treat. Finding the right mix, he says, is like “a painter with a palette. Profiles offer a kaleidoscope of shifting colors. Terpenes and cannabinoids are chemically related like cousins with medicinal affects. But receptor pathways are different in everyone. When you put it all together with this holistic entourage, the impact of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Lee also believes myrcene is basically a sedative and follows the line of thinking that indica and sativa is not a valid measuring tool as each can have generous amounts of myrcene and other terpenes that alter the effects in every strain. He added that therapists can control the ratio of such when recommending a strain or method to their patients.
THE FUTURE IS… Shared research will mean more accurate profiles and, in turn, the ability for patients to find accurate recommendations for precise mixtures of terpenes and CBD. Delivery methods will need to be studied further as missing terpenes in profiles could create adverse or nonproductive situations. In the future kiosks will adorn each dispensary to supply credible, uniform information and will tailor client profiles to preserve privacy. Dispensary workers will undergo continued training to better understand the science, delivery, and strains. Edibles will include the actual baking of cannabis itself to maintain the synergy of the plant through baking, much as it is now through vaping. Terpene bars and flavor testing rooms will inhabit dispensaries and enable more patients to utilize terpenes for healing. Until then, budtender Sheldon Gates of Inyo Fine Cannabis dispensary sums it up simply: "the smell of terpenes is therapeutic and the plant energy itself makes people happy. We rarely see people who are bummed out. It’s intoxicating to be around it. Our employees are on a natural high.” Looks like grandma was on to something.
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THE ENES AND OLS
There are approximately 140 terpenes intermingling in cannabis strains that have attributes similar to aromatherapy. Here are the most popular. Myrcene (mer-seen) is the most prevalent terpene of all and is found in the most helpful varieties of cannabis, sometimes in high amounts, serving as a sedative or muscle relaxer. Helps with: sleeplessness, pain, inflammation, depression Smells of: earthy, clove or musky aroma with a splash of citrus Also found in: mango, thyme, lemongrass, and hops Limonene is often used in ointments and medicinal creams to help penetrate the skin more effectively. Found in strains with a pronounced energizing effect, Limonene can elevate mood and provide stress relief. Treats: anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal complications, heartburn, bronchitis Acts as: antifungal, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, appetite suppressant Also found in: fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint Beta-Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (CB2). Treats: arthritis, ulcers, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal complications Acts as: anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, gastro-protectant, analgesic Also found in: black pepper, cloves and cotton Pinene is used as an antiseptic. Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are common contributors to profiles that can help with alertness, memory retention, and counteracting some THC effects. Helps with: asthma, inflammation Smells like: pine trees and turpentine Also found in: pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill Linalool has sedative properties that can offer relief from anxiety and stress. Helps with: motor skills, inflammation, pain, seizures, depression Smells of: floral with spicy overtones Also found in: flowers, mint and cinnamon Humulene is known to suppress hunger and act as an appetite suppressant. Acts as: anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogen Smells of: earthy, woody aroma with a spicy scent or hoppy aroma Also found in: cloves, basil Borneol, most commonly used as a calming sedative, combats fatigue, stress and illness. Acts as: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, bronchodilator Smells of: earthy, camphor-like musk
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REACHING FOR THE CLOUDS Industry innovator combats abuse of popular street drug with CBD-based syrup Joe Vargas has found an unusual niche in the cannabis industry. He discovered abuse of a prescription drug mixture known as lean, sizzrup or drank, that it’s safe to say, he, alone, is creating a remedy. “What we are doing is revolutionary, we are changing a culture that has involved millions upon millions of people and that’s very powerful,” says Vargas. “We are making an impact by offering an alternative to these millennials who would otherwise be abusing their health, and killing themselves.” That alternative is Cloud N9ne Hemp Syrup, a 60-milligram CBD and herbal concoction Vargas has developed as a healthy alternative to the deadly codeinebased “lean” cocktails made popular by the hip hop community and abused by the millennial set. The lean cocktail is a potent mix of prescription codeine and promethazine cough syrup, Spite, and, on occasion, a Jolly Rancher, used in combination to get in an altered state or “high.” With addictive qualities similar to opiates, this dangerous street drug has had some serious consequences even leading one manufacturer to stop making one of the cocktail’s main ingredients. “I didn’t realize how big the culture was until I started doing research,” explains Vargas. “Then around July or August of 2015 TMZ came out with a story that one of the biggest suppliers of lean or codeine, Actavis, was discontinuing its product for being too commercialized by artists like Justin Bieber, Rick Ross and other rappers singing about it. It’s a cough syrup and not supposed to be something that’s part of the party culture.” A serial entrepreneur, Vargas started Cloud N9ne soon
after seeing the TMZ segment. He transitioned from owning a nightlife promotions business to becoming a leader in the cannabis industry. “I was in the nightlife/entertainment industry for quite some time and I was looking for an out of that industry. I didn’t see my legacy as being someone who was running around nightclubs and helping people get drunk,” reveals Vargas. “I did my research and I saw a wave coming that probably not many other people saw coming.” Launching Cloud N9ne in 2015, Vargas created an atypical product for a demographic that is generally not medicinal cannabis users. “The vast majority of our business comes from the millennial demographic that’s 18-25. That’s where we started and that’s where we focus,” says Vargas, who attributes his 1.2 million customers to word-of-mouth and a very strong social media reach. Since its launch in 2015, Cloud N9ne has expanded its user profile. “Now it’s bled into the medicinal side and helps people who are looking for something to treat COPD, fibromyalgia, MS, pain or insomnia. Even people who have ADHD use it so they can focus at school,” explains Vargas. Vargas’ success with hemp syrup has led him to develop new product lines which can be found at buylegalmeds.com. His company will soon be launching CBD dabs as well as an 85 percent CBD oil that’s made from both Charlotte’s Web and AC/DC and has been registered with the Department of Agriculture. “It’s for people who want to use it for medicinal reasons to supplement other treatments or just want to use it for cooking or baking.” As for the very unique niche he fills, Vargas says, “I am a fan of doing things that other people are not doing. I feel like that’s a little bit more valuable.”
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A Patients’ Guide to Medical Cannabis in Southern Nevada 1. Apothecarium apothecariumlv.com 7885 W. Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89117 702.778.7987
7. Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary inyolasvegas.com 2520 S. Maryland Pkwy Ste #2 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702.707.8888
16. Pisos Dispensary pisoslv.com 4110 S. Maryland Pkwy Ste #A Las Vegas, NV 89119 702.367.9333
24b. The Dispensary thedispensarynv.com 50 N. Gibson Rd Henderson, NV 89104 702.476.0420
2. Blackjack Collective blackjackcollective.com 1860 Western Ave Las Vegas, NV 89102 702.545.0026
8. Jardin jardincannabis.com 2900 E. Desert Inn Rd Ste #102 Las Vegas, NV 89121
17a. Reef Dispensaries reefdispensaries.com 3400 Western Ave Las Vegas, NV 89109 702.475.6520
25a. The Grove TheGroveNV.com 1541 E. Basin Ave Pahrump, NV 89048 775.556.0100
17b. Reef Dispensaries reefdispensaries.com 1366 W. Cheyenne Ave North Las Vegas, NV 89030 702.410.8032
25b. The Grove TheGroveNV.com 4647 Swenson St Las Vegas, NV 89119 702.463.5777
18. Sahara Wellness 420sahara.com 420 E. Sahara Ave Las Vegas , NV 89104 702.478.5533
26a. The Source thesourcenv.com 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd Ste #8 Las Vegas, NV 89146 702.708.2000
19. Shango Las Vegas goshango.com 4380 Boulder Highway Las Vegas, NV 89121 702.444.4824
26b. The Source thesourcenv.com 9480 S Eastern Ave Ste #185 Henderson, NV 89052 702.708.2222
20. ShowGrow showgrowlv.com 4850 S. Fort Apache Rd Ste #100 Las Vegas NV 89147 702.227.0511
27a. Thrive Cannabis Markeplace thrivenevada.com 2755 W. Cheyenne Ave Ste #103 North Las Vegas, NV 89032 702.776.4144
21. Silver Sage Wellness sswlv.com 4626 W. Charleston Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89102 702.802.3757
27b.Thrive Cannabis Marketplace Thrivenevada.com 1112 S. Commerce St. Las Vegas, NV 89102 702.776.4144
22. The Apothecary Shoppe theapothecaryshoppe.com 4240 W. Flamingo Rd Ste #100 Las Vegas, NV 89103 702.740.4372
28. Top Notch THC topnotchthc.com 5630 Stephanie St Las Vegas, NV 89122 702.418.0420
3b. Blüm LetsBlum.com 3650 S. Decatur Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89103 702.627.Blum 3c. Blüm LetsBlum.com 1130 E. Desert Inn Rd Las Vegas, NV 89109 702.536.Blum 4a. Canopi
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6540 Blue Diamond Rd Las Vegas, NV 89139 702.420.7301 4b. Canopi NOW OPEN 1324 S. 3rd St Las Vegas, NV 89104 702.420.2902
4c. Canopi NOW OPEN 2113 Las Vegas Blvd North North Las Vegas, NV 89030 702.420.2113 5. Deep Roots Harvest deeprootsharvest.com 195 Willis Carrier Canyon Mesquite, NV 89027 702.345.2854 6. Euphoria Wellness euphoriawellnessnv.com 7780 S. Jones Blvd Ste #105 Las Vegas, NV 89139 702.960.7200
9. Jenny’s Dispensary Jennysdispensary.com 5530 N. Decatur Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89030 702.718.0420 10. Las Vegas ReLeaf lasvegasreleaf.com 2244 Paradise Rd Las Vegas, NV 89104 702.209.2400 11. Medizin medizinlv.com 4850 W. Sunset Rd Ste #130 Las Vegas, NV 89118 702.206.1313 12a. Nevada Medical Marijuana nevadamedicalmarijuana.com 3195 St. Rose Pkwy Ste #212 Henderson, NV 89052 702.737.7777 12b. Nevada Medical Marijuana nevadamedicalmarijuana.com 1975 S. Casino Dr Laughlin, NV 89029 702.737.7777 13. Nevada Wellness Center nvwellnessctr.com 3200 S. Valley View Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89102 702.470.2077 14. NuLeaf www.nuleafnv.com 430 E. Twain Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702.297.5323 15. Oasis Medical Cannabis oasismedicalcannabis.com 1800 S. Industrial Rd Ste #180 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702.420.2405
23. The Clinic theclinicnevada.com 4310 W. Flamingo Rd Las Vegas, NV 89103 702.447.1250 24a. The Dispensary thedispensarynv.com 5347 S. Decatur Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89118 702.476.0420
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elevatenv.com | february
DISRUPT, INNOVATE & ELEVATE
FOR OPTIMAL SUCCESS, DISPENSARY STAFF NEEDS TO EMPLOY THE ART OF CONVERSATION By Mark S.A. Smith
Selling retail cannabis is different -- very, very different. Treat it like a traditional retail product and you’ll miss an amazing opportunity offered by every person who walks in your store. If you’re staffing your cannabis dispensary with people from traditional retail stores, you’re probably not getting the best sales performance from your team unless you have made the effort to do some sales behavior retraining. Let me explain why selling cannabis is so much different. When you walk into a typical retail store and the clerk asks, “May I help?” your most likely response is, “Just looking.” They generally respond with, “Okay, let me know.” That’s not sales, that’s a door greeter, like they have at Wal-Mart.
QUESTIONS FIRST, PRODUCT SECOND
NOT YOUR AVERAGE RETAIL EXPERIENCE
Are you looking for something specific? “Yes” -> take them to that section of your store. “Just looking” -> “We have so many products, it’s almost overwhelming. What results are you looking for from this product? To relax? Focus? Pain relief? Party?” “What have you tried before?” “Do you want more of that or something different?” “More” -> “What do you like best about it?” “Different” -> “What do you want to experience?” “How do you want to consume it?” “How will you know what to choose?” “What else do you need to make your experience complete?”
Most retail salespeople behave like order takers, where the customer selects goods of their preference and makes a purchase. If customers have questions, it’s about location of stock, not much more. The most challenging question the clerk asks, “Is that cash or credit?” Selling becomes pitching the store credit card, not the stocked merchandise. Most retail stores carry mass produced, commodity products. Shoppers have a pre-established preference of a brand that fits their personal vision of themselves based on well-established, broad marketing campaigns. That’s not the case for 95 percent or more of the visitors to a cannabis dispensary. They are there to figure out what they should buy because very few established cannabis brands currently drive consumer preference. Even celebrity endorsed brands don’t fully translate to a specific product experience, other than you get to party – in your mind – with the celeb. Do you really believe your favorite rapper is smoking $25 weed, even when it has their name on it? That’s as likely as the Kardashians driving a Buick. Because of this market situation, your retail team’s job is to figure out the customer’s buying motivation and direct them to the products that best satisfy their desired experience.
How can you turn the members of your retail team in to real salespeople? By using a simple assessment-based sales method that leads to a recommendation. Don’t start by pitching a product because you’ll confuse the average buyer. In cannabis sales, as in medicine, prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. First, discover what experience the consumer wants and direct them to a selection of products that can deliver that experience. Then make two recommendations, one higher priced, and one lower priced. Then make sure they have all the accessories that they need to have a positive product experience.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
With just these simple questions, you can help your customer rapidly find what satisfies the experience they want. And once you start doing that, you’ll enjoy both customer loyalty and a growing business. Mark S. A. Smith helps business executives create disruptive and comprehensive business strategies and marketing plans. He publishes weekly business articles on LinkedIn (http://MarksOnLinkedIn.com) and just launched SellingDisruptionShow.com, a weekly podcast. Contact him at Mark.Smith@BijaCo.com.
february | elevatenv.com 35
As Nevada’s 79th Legislative Session prepares to convene on February 6, a lot of new legislation will be under consideration by lawmakers for implementation. This article will offer readers a preview of marijuana-related legislative policy that the Nevada Legislative body will consider during this session. But first let’s review some background to better understand the parameters of Nevada’s legislative landscape. There are five bodies of law (either all of a jurisdiction's laws or all of a jurisdiction's laws concerning a particular area of law) that will be relevant as marijuana laws continue to take shape.
NEVADA’S BODIES OF LAW
● Nevada Constitution. This requires a medical marijuana program and registry and is unlikely to change anytime soon. ● Nevada State Laws (NRS). There are currently at least eight Bill Draft Requests that aim to change NRS relating to marijuana and there will likely be others. ● Nevada Administrative Code (NAC). The Department of Taxation will develop regulations surrounding the recreational use of marijuana and possibly medical use as well. ● Initiative Petition 1 (IP1). IP1 governs certain aspects of Nevada’s recreational marijuana program while leaving other aspects for the state legislature and state agencies to decide. IP1 cannot be amended or changed during the 2017 Legislative Session. ● Local Government. Each municipality imposes its own local codes, which carry the force of law. During the regular legislative session, which takes place from February 6 to June 6, 2017, the Legislature can only change NRS, but
elevatenv.com | february
boards from taking disciplinary action against licensees due to the licensees' professional involvement with marijuana. ● BDR 361 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Provides for a patient’s bill of rights. ● BDR 40-545 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Establishes the Early Start Program for recreational marijuana.
A PREVIEW OF BILL DRAFT REQUESTS FOR UPCOMING NEVADA LEGISLATIVE SESSION by Riana Durrett
this could impact the other bodies of law mentioned above. Currently legislators, committees, state agencies and others are submitting their requests to change certain laws through Bill Draft Requests (BDRs) and legislative staff is writing the requested bills.
2017 BILL DRAFT REQUESTS
Legislators, legislative committees, constitutional officers and state agencies are allotted a certain number of bills each session to change NRS. These bills are first submitted as “Bill Draft Requests” until the language of the bill has been drafted. A BDR is a precursor to the bill itself. Below are just some of the BDRs relating to marijuana. Other BDRs exist and there will likely be more submitted before February 6, 2017. ● BDR 43 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Authorizes local governments to enact ordinances allowing for marijuana social clubs, events and concerts. ● BDR 30 (Sponsor: Senator Farley): Revises provisions relating to controlled substances. ● BDR 185 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Prohibits professional licensing
● BDR 14-559 (Senate Judiciary Committee): Revises provisions relating to marijuana. ● BDR 321 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Authorizes Nevada’s governor to enter into compacts with Native American tribes in Nevada concerning the regulation of marijuana as well as revises provisions relating to a tribal marijuana program in Nevada. ● BDR 43-598 (Sponsor: Assembly Judiciary Committee). Revises provisions related to marijuana and the operation of a vehicle or vessel. Some of the BDRs are selfexplanatory, while others are less clear. We will not know what laws they seek to change and how they seek to change them until the BDR becomes an actual bill.
ONE TO WATCH: Consumption Lounges (BDR 43)
One BDR that will be closely followed and sponsored by Senator Tick Segerblom proposes allowing local municipalities to authorize marijuana consumption in social clubs, concerts and other areas. Currently, marijuana consumption is prohibited in public and this has left some business owners wondering if they will be permitted to allow consumption in their private businesses. This bill would allow local governments to clarify the issue of private consumption within a business as well as to allow for social clubs or other areas of consumption outside of a personal residence, if the local government so chooses.
INDUSTRY RESOURCE GUIDE
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elevatenv.com | february
LEGALEASE THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN NEVADA’S MARIJUANA MARKET By Amanda Connor
2016 was a huge year for marijuana. On election night, several states passed recreational and medical initiatives to legalize marijuana, making it one of the most successful years for the industry. Nevada contributed to this success by passing the ballot initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana beginning in 2017. But the new recreational market brings about the same question as the existing medical marijuana market — what is the role of local government? The federal government’s relationship with state governments, especially regarding marijuana, is often discussed and frequently publicized. As has become evident during the past few years, states can legalize marijuana despite the illegality on the federal level; but what about a state’s relationship with their local governments? The answer is still unclear. For example, the current role of local government in Nevada’s medical marijuana is still debated, despite the industry’s existence in Nevada since 2014. However, one thing is clear -- local governments will have some amount of control when confronting the controversial industry.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT BANS Some local governments have already implemented a blanket ban on marijuana. For example, since Nevada’s legalization of medical marijuana, Boulder City has yet to allow any medical marijuana businesses to operate within
elevatenv.com | february
city limits. One can assume the same prohibition will carry on with the recreational market. Henderson, which comprises a prominent portion of Southern Nevada, is currently considering a yearlong or six-month prohibition on marijuana. The moratorium would halt all commercial activity related to recreational marijuana in 2017 with the intention to wait and see what the Nevada Legislature does with the initiative. The Henderson City Council’s main concerns appear to be over public health and zoning issues, including the locations of recreational marijuana dispensaries. The Henderson City Council justifies their decision to consider the moratorium by giving deference to the State Legislature to work out the details. Clark County, which encompasses the greater Las Vegas Valley, also recently discussed issues regarding adultuse marijuana in Nevada. Clark County began their local recreational licensing discussion by looking at other states' recreational practices and by looking at Nevada’s current medical marijuana procedures. Clark County most likely will create a new regulatory code for “retail marijuana” to create local concepts unique to recreational use of marijuana. The County may require similar application procedures as they do with medical marijuana, which includes environmental plans, safety measures, and background checks. While a lot of the requirements most likely will mirror those of the medical marijuana industry, it appears
Clark County will pay special and close attention to the retail industry’s consumption (especially the location of consumption and driving laws). If local governments choose not to enforce a moratorium, they have other options to regulate the industry within their district lines. For instance, local jurisdictions can implement different license fees if they so choose; for example, the city of Las Vegas business license fee can differ from Henderson. Localities can also implement different permit and fi ling fees, and require more or less documentation of business plans.
LOCAL LAND USE PERMITS Land use permits are another way for local governments to keep tabs on marijuana establishments. Land use permits are given by the city or county in which the establishment is located. Land use permits may vary from city to city, or county to county; the application, fees, and other requirements can be different in North Las Vegas as opposed to Henderson. The majority of states that have legalized marijuana in some form implement the permits so localities can manage the industry in their communities. For example,
Clark County Commissioners can use land use permits to determine the appropriate locations for recreational marijuana establishments within the county. Special use permits are at the discretion of the governing body and thus the local government can control the areas where the establishments are allowed or prohibited. The County intends to draft its own local regulations and ordinances likely before Nevada implements the relevant state regulations for recreational marijuana (as it did with medical marijuana). These local licensing regulations can vary from other counties, local governments, and state regulations. Overall, it will be interesting to see what happens in the near future with Nevada’s adult-use industry. While some jurisdictions might limit or prohibit marijuana establishments, other jurisdictions might take advantage of the booming industry and use the market to benefit their communities. For now, Nevada’s adult-use amendment will move forward, and only time will tell how it will fair in each locality.
New patients receive a FREE gram, FREE vape pen battery or a FREE Cookie. Plus, learn about cannabis at our New Patient Orientation held monthly by our Director of Medical Education, Dr. William Troutt. See the schedule at thesourcenv.com/events
LAS VEGAS 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd (Sahara & Rainbow) 702.708.2000
HENDERSON 9480 S. Eastern Ave (Eastern & Serene) 702.708.2222 © 2016 The Source. All Rights Reserved. 20160915
february | elevatenv.com
elevatenv.com | february
OPEN FOR BUSINESS GB SCIENCES NEVADA RECEIVES STATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE
GB Sciences Nevada, LLC has received state certification for its 28,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation facility located at 3550 West Teco Avenue in Clark County. GB Sciences cannabis cultivation facility will initially be equipped with 200 grow lights supporting approximately 800 cannabis plants, with an initial production of 115 pounds of cannabis per month. When it's at capacity, the facility will have 1,000 grow lights and 4,000 plants, which are expected to generate over $20 million in revenues per year.
THRIVE BEGINS LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP WITH NCCF
Demonstrating his commitment to serving the Southern Nevada community, THRIVE Cannabis Marketplace CEO Mitch Britten delivered a $10,000 check and $2,500 worth of Christmas gifts to the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation in December. Britten made the donation as a way to demonstrate how cannabis companies can be good corporate citizens. “The cannabis industry has the potential to bring not only
more revenue to the state’s coffers, but also to positively affect community organizations who share our passion for improving individuals’ quality of life,” explained Britten. Added Jeff Gordon, president and chief executive officer, Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, “We are thrilled to work with THRIVE and welcome new partnerships that offer the chance to build long-term benefits for the families we serve.”
SUN VALLEY CERTIFICATION CLINIC OPENS
Sun Valley Certification Clinic has opened at 2550 South Rainbow Boulevard in the Rainbow Shopping Center. Located in the same shopping center as the The+Source medical marijuana dispensary, Sun Valley and The+Source have partnered to provide increased access to medical marijuana for those in need. Working with licensed physicians in good standing with the Medical Board of Nevada, Sun Valley endeavors to provide a safe, legal, confidential and comfortable experience, even offering free pediatric appointments for life-threatening diseases. To contact Sun Valley, patients can call 702.420.2205 or visit www.svmmjcc.com.
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702-224-2691 february | elevatenv.com
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elevatenv.com | february
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february | elevatenv.com 43
Elevating the Conversation
Andrew Jolley, President, Nevada Dispensary Association
n addition to being the interim CEO and board of director for Nevada Organic Remedies, parent company to The+Source medical dispensary, Las Vegas native Andrew Jolley is currently serving as president of the Nevada Dispensary Association. Jolley brings a depth of business knowledge to the cannabis space that he has garnered as CEO and owner of EquiSource, a real estate investment firm, and as a partner at CapSource, a private commercial real estate lender. Read on to find out his plans for the cannabis industry in 2017.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET INVOLVED WITH CANNABIS? I wanted to be part of what I see as a massive change in our state and in our country about how we view cannabis. WHAT SKILLS FROM YOUR CAREER IN REAL ESTATE HAVE SERVED YOU BEST IN STARTING A BUSINESS IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY? Patience -- nothing happens quickly in real estate. It’s a matter of expectations. With the medical marijuana program everybody expected us to go from a few thousand patients to 60,000 patients in a matter of months, in reality it’s going to take a few years to get there. Plus, we probably had unrealistic expectations about how quickly our regulators would get up to speed on the learning curve and so we have had some issues we have had to sort out with our regulators and our elected officials about how to run this program. But, overall, I think everyone has done a good job up until this point. AS NDA PRESIDENT, WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PRIORITY FOR THE INDUSTRY IN 2017? It’s really twofold, first is to help usher in adult-use sales in a responsible way and second is to strengthen the medical program.
a change. Nationally, 57 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legalized and almost 80 percent agree with legalizing medical marijuana so we are seeing a massive change in public perception and we saw that play out here in Nevada in November. WITH SENATOR SESSIONS AS THE PRESIDENT’S PICK FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL, DO YOU THINK THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY WILL STALL OR WILL IT CONTINUE TO PROGRESS? If I have learned anything in the past couple of years, it’s that I shouldn’t try to predict what a Trump administration will or can do. But I truly believe the industry will continue to grow and flourish, although there is a lot of uncertainty around Attorney General Sessions. I don’t see a scenario where he would want to pick a fight with 57 to 80 percent of Americans and dozens of states who have legalized medical and eight states who have legalized adult-use. So my hope is that he takes a pragmatic approach and finds a way to continue President Obama’s strategy of deprioritizing cannabis from a law enforcement standpoint.
WHAT ARE YOU GOALS FOR THE 2017 NEVADA LEGISLATIVE SESSION? My goals are to reduce the cost and headache for medical patients and to help dispensary owners build solid companies. We want to reduce both the cost of the patient card and potentially the cost of the product by reducing taxes.
BETWEEN THE+SOURCE AND NDA PRESIDENCY, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY ? My biggest goal is to help the industry continue to grow and develop in a way that benefits the community. That means giving back to the community, creating jobs for the community, paying taxes, and, in some cases, changing peoples’ perceptions of marijuana. The best way to accomplish all of those goals is to run clean and successful businesses here in our state.
WHAT WAS THE ONE THING THAT SWAYED NEVADANS TO LEGALIZE ADULT-USE CANNABIS IN NOVEMBER? Common sense. This issue can be very divisive and very emotional for some people but when you step back and look at the facts and the history of the war on drugs and how marijuana has been unfairly lumped in with a lot of every bad substances, the vast majority of Americans agree that we have treated this natural plant horribly unfairly and that it’s time for
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST SURPRISING DISCOVERY ABOUT CANNABIS? That all of the things I was told growing up about cannabis, with very few exceptions, were absolutely wrong. Cannabis is not a gateway drug, it doesn’t cause lung cancer, it doesn’t have high rates of addiction, but instead it has so many potential health benefits that we are just now understanding from a scientific standpoint.
elevatenv.com | february
elevatenv.com | february