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Issue 4, Fall 2021 FREE

Cannabis Crop More Valuable than Hay & Apples Combined in Michigan Michigan’s First THC Drink Redefines ‘Happi’ Hour

Last Prisoner Project Finds Early Success



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fall 2021| MIGreenState

On The Cover

MiGreenState Director Ed Fritz

Advertising Tony Garant

12..............................................last prisoner project finds early success 18..............................................Michigan’s first Thc drink redefines ‘happi’ hour 22.............................................cannabis crop more valuable than Hay & apples combined in michigan



Chef Rodney Lienhart

4................................................michiganders support regulating private marijuana farmers, per new poll chef builds on bourdain’s legacy with bud 8................................................honey ricotta peach crostini hemp manufacturing company aims to grow sustainable practices 14..............................................alphabet soup 16..............................................Small business spotlight: Clean with cannabis 20.............................................should you use cannabis as pre-workout? 24..............................................bud brand inspired brand: cannabis entrepreneur remedies neuropathy 26.............................................cannabis entrepreneur finds passion in growing plant, caring for others 27..............................................medical marijuana can help treat depression, ansiety, per new study Issue 4 | fall 2021

Jon Becker Elissa Esher Aurora Rae

Shepard Price Angela Mulka

Design & Layout Emalie Schuberg MI Green State Magazine is designed and printed in Big Rapids, Michigan For advertising rates and information call: 231-592-8334 or email: | 3

Michiganders Support Regulating Private Marijuana Farmers, per New Poll ANGELA MULKA FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE Michigan residents want tighter control of medical cannabis sales, according to a poll conducted by Michigan’s largest cannabis growers. Results of the bipartisan poll, commissioned by the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association, were rolled out in a virtual press conference last week. “The vast majority of Michiganders want to rein in unlicensed cannabis,” said Steve Linder, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association, in the press conference. “Michiganders want everyone to play by the same rules.” The results demonstrate support for a group of bills recently introduced that would sharply curb the state’s legal caregiver system in regards to growing cannabis – from 60 to 10 plants and a 75% decrease in patient plant allowances, from 12 to three. Caregivers essentially provide patients who have a doctor’s recommendation with cannabis. These caregivers are

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allowed to grow and supply cannabis to several patients who regularly purchase medical cannabis, according to Messaging for 10 new regulations offered in the proposed group of bills all found majority support, according to the poll. For example, one key question, which received 78% support from those polled, was, “Thinking about medical marijuana, do you think medical marijuana providers should be subject to the same regulations as recreational marijuana providers like testing, tracking, licensing and safety?” Key findings of the statewide survey include: 82% support requiring unlicensed marijuana growers who grow for more than one patient to have their product tested for harmful substances using the same standards as current licensed growers and processors. 78% support medical marijuana and recreational marijuana being subject to the same regulation, like testing, tracking, licensing and safety.

71% support requiring unlicensed marijuana growers to report where they grow marijuana to the state.

million in August, according to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency. That’s a year-over-year increase of 52%.

71% support requiring unlicensed marijuana growers who grow for more than one patient to obtain a license through the state.

The speakers at the conference made a point to say that the consensus reached on the proposed regulations in the survey proves that Michiganders want more transparency as cannabis sales continue to increase.

68% support amending the 2008 Medical Marijuana law by adding new regulations for unlicensed marijuana growers who grow marijuana for more than one patient. “Michigan is at a crossroads when it comes to cannabis, and this poll tells us Michiganders want increased accountability and transparency in our burgeoning regulated cannabis market,” Linder said in a press release. “The survey also tells us they want to know where their cannabis comes from, regardless if they purchase it for medical or recreational use.” The statewide survey was conducted Aug. 19-23 among 577 likely 2022 voters. The research was done by two firms, one Democratic firm called Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and one Republican firm called Public Opinion Strategies. Statewide cannabis sales totaled $165.6

However, some medical marijuana caregivers are protesting the proposed legislation. The poll results came one day after medical marijuana caregivers protested on the steps of the Capitol building in Lansing, according to WGVU News. They say that the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association, the organization that commissioned the poll to be done, is nothing more than a lobby group for some of the largest cannabis companies in Michigan and are reportedly behind the effort to squeeze out the little guy and dominate the marijuana market in the state. Representatives for the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association declined to reveal how much the trade organization paid for the polling.

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Life-long chef builds on Bourdain’s legacy with bud AURORA RAE FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE One life-long chef is combining his love of marijuana with his passion of cooking as he tries to educate the world about the benefits of cannabis all while following in the footsteps of the late, great Anthony Bourdain – celebrity chef, author, and travel documentarian. Rodney Lienhart has worked in restaurants for as long as he can remember. For him, food is a lifestyle, not a job. “As a chef, you’re searching for ingredients other people don’t know about,” he said. “You’re searching (for) ways to cook that other people haven’t even heard of, you’re looking to invent yourself. You want to find this one discovery out of like a wannabe Shakespearean theory where you throw 100 monkeys into a room with typewriters and one of them’s going to come up with something good. That’s the same ideology of a chef, per se.” Born in Lansing to his mom, Vickie, and dad, John, Lienhart moved around as a kid until settling in his mom’s hometown of Mackenzie, Tennessee. There, she owned a restaurant, called The Y, where a 5-year-old Lienhart learned to “buss… and wipe tables down.” He said his mother made an agreement with he and his brother to pay them the same amount

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as their babysitter, if they helped around the restaurant. Lienhart said he was manipulated into making money at a very young – illegal – age but still enjoyed the Pokemon cards his part-time job afforded him. Nonetheless, the restaurant replaced a life his friends grew up accustomed to. “I didn’t really get to go out and play a lot with friends,” he said. “Because I was always working.” Leinhart said the restaurant “eventually got broken into two or three times” by family members they knew. When he was 11, he and his family moved to Michigan so John could take care of Lienhart’s grandfather, who was sick at the time. “We got to Michigan there was no snow,” he said. “Literally, overnight, it was like eight inches.” Lienhart saw a whole new world in cooking upon moving north. He said he even noticed a different etiquette in Michigan that he took an interest in. “You couldn’t just slap it on a plate and sling it,” he said. “There was a finesse to cooking, there really was.” He said he started to take notice of that so much so it “kind of made me weird in a sense.” His infatuation with cooking grew quickly as he “wanted to learn more, wanted to learn more, wanted to learn more.” His culinary research led him to the man he is inspired by today.

“When you look up weird shit in the culinary industry, you always fall back to Bourdain.” He said he understands Bourdain’s message in a way he thinks others do not. “(They’re) looking at the man versus what he is trying to say,” he said. “That’s why ultimately sometimes when you watch some of his episodes or read his stuff, you just shake your head because you’re like “Dude, you’re gone now, and this is just so far from the truth it’s not even funny.” Lienhart said he wants to pick up where he left off, not replace him. He said he sees too many people who used to praise him in his life, now “talk shit” about him in his absence. “If you understood who he was, that’s not the end of this,” he said about Bourdain’s death in June of 2018. Lienhart attend a technical high school, where he spent half of his time learning culinary skills. He attended a university for a short time after before dropping out due to financial issues. He continued working in the restaurant industry, where drugs and alcohol were a part of the culture. But the fast-paced lifestyle was nothing new to Lienhart, having been in it since middle school age. Around the time his second daughter was born, “a cold splash of reality hit me.” “I had this massive panic attack so much so that I was an hour and a half late for work and I don’t

know what happened,” he said. “I blacked out.” He started to make changes in his life and work towards a healthier existence. “I figured out cutting out booze would not only save me money,” he said. “But make me feel better.” About five years ago, he obtained his own health insurance and went to a doctor for help. “I’d go back and forth with that doctor… for at least a good six months and it got to the point where I just couldn’t fucking sleep,” he said. “I would only really sleep four to five hours a night just because that’s the chef’s life.” He said he was on 10-15 medications throughout the six-month period he saw the doctor.

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“ e E a f “ e O c “ I a s T t H n H o a o “ d U “ “ H w t “ I H m c L g “ a l a H p H “ w w H a “ n “ c m H s “ H p “

“It looked like taking a pack of multivitamins almost every hour,” he said. Even though it helped him successfully quit drinking and smoking cigarettes, Lienhart said he still did not feel right. “I was not a good person,” he said. “The simplest smallest thing would set me off.” One day, he decided he was done with the pharmaceuticals. “I go into (the doctor’s) office, having a bad day, and I literally dump all of my medications down the floor around him and I’m like “I’m done taking these”,” he said. The doctor did not know what else to do for him and told him to “smoke a joint and calm down.” He pondered the doctor’s instructions until later that night, he obliged. His roommate, who had a medical card, was smoking outside with friends when Leinhart joined them and asked to buy some marijuana. His roommate kindly offered it to him for free. “It’s just like smoking any other joint,” he said. “But it’s different when you’re sober.” Unexpectedly, Lienhart said “everything relaxed.” “The world felt complacent for a moment,” he said. “The static calmed down and then the chaos did.” He got another joint from his friend, ate and then went to bed. He said he slept for 18 hours straight that night. “I remember that sleep,” he said. “That is the best sleep I’d ever fuckin gotten in my life.” He continued to use marijuana recreationally, and medicinally as he later discovered, while working as a chef until 2020. Lienhart said COVID “decimated” the world he had grown up in. “The whole culinary industry was absolutely eviscerated,” he said. “You’re watching everything that you love incinerate around you and fall to ashes. It wasn’t a pleasant time.” He picked up a liking for a hobby he had only ever practiced in school: writing. His late mother’s advice echoed in his head. “She always told me she goes “Listen, I don’t know why I’m saying this, but I’m telling you to write down what you’re thinking. Just write it down.” He said he didn’t believe her until he started to do it after she was gone. “It was terrible,” he said. He persisted with it though, noticing it improvements in his mental wellbeing. “The more that I noticed that I wrote, the more cathartic it became for me,” he said. “I noticed that my mental health wasn’t staggering. I got it out.” He started writing for “random cooking stories… just stuff about me” for a website called Cleaver and Blade “as a way to get free shit because that was pretty cool.” He said that experience gave him the courage to pursue writing in a more professional manner. “As soon as (Cleaver and Blade) published it, it made

Issue 4 | fall 2021

me like I could do this,” he said. “So, I started writing more.” He eventually stopped writing for them, choosing to focus on other publishing avenues. He wrote on his own, so much so, he decided to make it into a book, titled Y, after his mom’s restaurant “because why not,” he said. He started a podcast, too, per his peer’s suggestion, and found people in Detroit to work with. The deal unfortunately went south and Lienhart moved on, solo, “just really wanting to be the host of something.” He “changed the logo and… the concept” and created his own podcast, The Daily Chroniclez where he “spotlights the who’s who of the (cannabis) industry and why they’re there.” With almost 200 subscribers, he usually publishes videos every Friday but has not filmed in about a month as he is currently “rehabbing” the show including a “new intro sequence and new outro sequence.” The podcast was a step towards his goal, but not his end game. He had yet to create a cooking with cannabis show. One night, he had a nightmare “thinking back to what my mom said when she was alive.” Lienhart and his mom were watching Anthony Bourdain one time when she pointed to the TV and told him he should do that. After that memory, he worked tirelessly to make his and his moms vision a reality. After one year and about $50,000, he launched the pilot episode of his show, Deliciously Dope, in November called, A Journey into the World of Culinary Cannabis. “That show is where I Anthony Bourdain the fuck out of the culinary cannabis,” he said. “Not just that but looking at the lifestyle behind cannabis as well.” He said he pays attention to details that other cannabis cooks are unaware of. “Terpenes matter,” he said. “Terpenes enhance not only the flavor but the absorption of cannabinoids to our endocannabinoid system.” He said people may consider the terpene content of cannabis, but do not consider “putting weed into food that already has a terpene content.” He said that attention to detail is a barrier people like himself are currently trying to break down. “There’s a huge need for what I do and that’s interesting because 10 years ago, there wasn’t really a huge need for what I did.” He plans to release 12 more episodes of Deliciously Dope before they “go worldwide,” like Bourdain. “I feel we need someone like him,” he said. “I feel we need his presence.” Lienhart said he feels he is the right one to continue Bourdain’s legacy because he “understand the nihilistic nightmare that’s narcissistically nudging me into nothingness.” He said he, unlike most others, is not in it for money or recognition, but rather to preserve the importance and art of “combining food and cannabis in a Bourdanian way.”

Pictured above: Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, author and travel documentarian. | 7

1. Turn on pan or griddle and warm to med-high heat. While waiting for the heat to get to the desired temperature – slice your baguette, peaches and pancetta. 2. Lightly oil both sides of the bread using the olive oil lightly brush both sides of the baguette and begin to sear each side. Once done, remove from heat and set aside. 3. Using the same pan, heat the pancetta. Once set aside on a paper towel. pancetta. Garnish with balsamCHEF RODNEY LEINHARTcrispy,INSTRUCTIONS 4. In a bowl, mix the honey and ricotta.ic glaze and basil. Add a pinch 1. Turn on pan or griddle and of salt and pepper to finish. 5. Begin assembling – start with about a tablespoon warm to med-high heat. While INGREDIENTS waiting for the heat to get to 2 large peaches (sliced about ¼ ofof anthe ricotta mix, then add your peach slice the desired temperature – slice Garnish PREPARATIONS followed by the crispy pancetta. with inch) your baguette, peaches and and basil. Add a pinch salt Beforeof you startand on this dish – let’s 2-3 tbsp Zilla’s CBD Infused Peachbalsamic glaze pancetta. make a fresh balsamic reduction. pepper to finish. Flavor Honey 2. Lightly oil both sides of the

Salt Pepper TIPS: Use fresh ingredients. Canned peaches ruin this dish. Simple tastes better here.

HONEY RICOTTA PEACH CROSTINI 16 French baguette slices 16 oz pancetta ¼ cup balsamic vinegar


¼ fresh basil Salt Pepper

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Put balsamic vinegar on medium high heat and let it reduce. Keep a close eye on this. Once reduced to ABOUT THE CHEF: 1/3, check the consistency on the Chef Rodney back of a spoon. If you can make a Leinhart is the line in the center that doesn’t break ABOUT THE CHEF: driving force behind – it’s ready. (This is called Nappe). Using the same pan, heat the and on air personpancetta. Once crispy, set aside ality of Deliciously on a paper towel. Chef Rodney Leinhart is the driving force behind and on air personality of DeDope TV. You can TIPS In a bowl, mix the honey andliciously Dope TV. You can find his YouTube channel at: find his YouTube ricotta. Use fresh ingredients. Canned com/channel/UCB1ZtrBB5QqJuitAKmaUuKQ. channel at: https:// peaches ruin this dish. Simple tastes Begin assembling – start with better here. To purchase Zilla’s com/channel/UCabout a tablespoon of the riB1ZtrBB5QqJuitAKcotta mix, then add your peach infused honey – go to maUuKQ. slice followed by the crispy bread using the olive oil lightly brush both sides of the baguette and begin to sear each side. Once done, remove from heat and set aside.

1 cup whole milk ricotta

2 tbsp olive oil

To purchase Zilla’s infused honey – go to

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New Hemp Manufacturing Company Aims to Grow Sustainable Practices JON BECKER FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE Hemp, an often misunderstood plant whose origins as an industrial commodity can be traced back to ancient times, is making a comeback. The wildly versatile plant, which stems from cannabis but owing to its very low levels of THC (0.3 percent or less) does not produce the high that marijuana does, is the genesis of a new niche manufacturing practice. iHemp Manufacturing, co-owned by equal partners Tony Solano and Dave Crabill, says the timing is right for sustainable manufacturing practices centering on a tried and true fiber that offers profound health benefits for people and the planet. The company has spent the last 8 years, in conjunction with partner groups, perfecting the supply chain for compounding alternative materials like hemp fiber which is suitable for some existing injection molded products depending on intended use. iHemp specializes in manufacturing sporting good products and distinctive outdoor recreational products. Its first product, made with 25% hemp fiber & 75% post-consumer recycled plastics, is “a flying disc in the form of an Ultimate Frisbee. We also have PDGA certified Disc Golf models available,” Solano said. “Our second manufacturing priority is making putters using HempWood. Instead of steel, aluminum or other hard materials, we have developed a formaldehyde-free wooden head putter through a strategic partnership.” Patents exist to protect the putter, which retails for $499 and comes with a variety of accessories. “To my knowledge, we are first in the world to use HempWood for a mainstream sporting good product,” Solano said. “It all centers on my appreciation of golf. I’m teaching my 3yr old daughter

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how to play the game. We both play Frisbee and golf now. We love it.”

for farmers, processors, distributors and manufacturers like iHemp.

Natural fiber composites align with the company’s desire to reduce dependencies on virgin petrochemical compounds in manufacturing for plastics and HempWood is proving out to compete with commoditized forms of lumber especially in the world of flooring and home remodeling.

“I had to get out and get into a bigger fish pond,” Solano says of his move from Colorado to L.A. It was similar to Finding Nemo where I was looking to ride bigger waves.”

“Is this the beginning of the end for a segment in fossil fuels?” Solano asks. “I don’t know. What I do know is that you can convert trash into cash.” It’s true. How many times per day does the average American consumer touch something that contains plastic? Can we reduce our dependency on oil with plant-based, farm-grown solutions? The answer again is yes.” Rope, clothing, shoes, food, paper, biofuel and bioplastics are but a few of the uses that proponents of hemp say can be refined into so many different commercial products. With over 25,000 potential applications, proponents believe we are still at the beginning of a new era due to the fact that we lost about 100yrs of entrepreneurial development with this natural resource. “We are doing what we can to reduce post-consumer waste,” Solano, a native of Colorado Springs now living in Los Angeles, said. “We’re impacting a scalable manufacturing practice that has global implications. I’ve been working on this craft with a religious fervor and an unrelenting zeal for 13 years.” In the United States, Hemp’s origins date back to Colonial Times. In Asia it is said to be used in a variety of ways since 6,000 B.V. Hemp began falling out of favor here in the 1930s and became illegal in 1970 when marijuana and hemp, as part of the ill-fated War on Drugs, were classified as a controlled substance. That changed in 2014 & 2018 when Congress passed the Farm Bills. This legislation legalized it agriculturally, opening the door to a wealth of possibilities

The Olympics offer a potentially huge market for the company’s Frisbees. Solano explains: “The World Flying Disc Federation and the United States Olympic Committee are based in my hometown of Colorado Springs. Ultimate Frisbee is going through the process to be considered as an Olympic Sport. They have their sights set on the 2028 Games. This could be very, very interesting to shift a global sport predicated upon virgin plastics over to a circular economy based products from post-consumer and agricultural waste.” The increasingly popular sport of Disc Golf is another avenue the company is pursuing to peddle its flying discs.

IHemp Manufacturing, a design-to-production facility in Fenton, specializes in producing sporting goods products by refining hemp fiber. This 10 inch classic ultimate Frisbee is one of the new company’s signature products.

“The Disc Golf market is roughly five times the size of the Ultimate Frisbee market,” Solano said. “If you’re competing in Disc Golf, you can carry about 1020 discs or more. The volume through consumers is understandably higher. You have a backpack full of discs, you’re playing in nature. It’s cultish and a great way to get back to being earthy.” The company strongly advocates for #GrowingTheSportResponsibly campaign. He added: “People’s tastes are changing over time. Instead of drinking a can of beer on the course, people are walking and smoking either hemp or marijuana. People want alternatives, they want to get out and interact with nature. They want to walk & talk, get earthy and bond the beauties of nature and the conditions of being Human.” To learn more about iHemp Manufacturing and its MI based resources whether product oriented or contract manufacturing, please visit https://www.ihempmfg. com OR email

This alternative putter, a handmade in the USA collaboration between iHemp Manufacturing and Hempwood (r) USA, is the world’s first mainstream sporting goods product made of hemp wood, according to company officials. The two outdoor recreation products are representative of iHemp and Hempwood’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes that demonstrate the versatility of alternative eco-friendly resources like hemp fiber.

fall 2021| MIGreenState


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Last Prisoner Project Finds Early Success in Michigan JON BECKER FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE A national nonprofit dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform has extended its considerable clout to Michigan. Last Prisoner Project, a Colorado-based organization with employees across the country, is determined to see that all Michigan prisoners convicted of non-violent marijuana-related crimes are released. It accomplishes this challenge here and elsewhere through its successful cannabis clemency programs, both on federal and state levels. Michigan Green State had the privilege of recently meeting with one of Last Prisoner Projects’ key figures, Sarah Gersten, the organization’s executive director and general counsel. In this role Gersten oversees every aspect of an operation that owes its origin to Steve DeAngelo, a globally-recognized American drug policy reform activist, and music industry veteran Dean Raise. The duo founded Last Prisoner Project in 2019 and, as DeAngelo said in his book, “The Cannabis Manifesto,” the organization and its impressive list of staffers and supporters won’t rest until they help free the more than 40,000 people it says is currently incarparole board trying to identify people for cerated in America on cannabis charges. potential release. This has been expedited Green State’s wide-ranging discussion by COVID, which has devastated Michigan with Gersten—who lives in Connecticut— prisons. The parole board is really trying to touched on legislative advocacy, social identify early release candidates.” justice and clemency efforts, among other Despite marijuana being legal for adult use, related subjects. Michigan Green State “We have 100 constituents still incarcerated launched last February and as “we carve across the State of Michigan for marijuana out our role in the cannabis industry Last offenses,” Gersten said. “Our coalition, in genPrisoner Project kept coming up,” said Ed Fritz, the magazine’s founder. “We thought it eral, is taking a grassroots approach to work was important to reach out to them to learn with local communities across the state. We more about the organization, particularly its favor clemency over parole because if you’re out on parole, you’re still truly not free.” activities in Michigan and what, if any role, we can play.” The coalition Gersten alludes to is a “A big piece of what we’re working on is our clemency program in Michigan,” Gersten said. “We have so much work to do. It’s a key priority. What we’re seeing in Michigan is the

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partnership between Last Prisoner Project and Michigan-based marijuana prisoner advocacy groups such as the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition, Force Detroit,

Sara Gersten

people getting out,” Gersten, a co-founder of Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition, said. “We have local re-entry groups on the ground ready to provide housing, transpor“We aim to work directly with Gov. Whitmer’s tation and clothing.” office to streamline and expedite the proLast Prisoner Project receives 60% of its cess of commutation for people incarceratfunding from individual donors and the ed on non-violent marijuana offenses,” she general population. The rest comes from the noted. cannabis industry, many of whom are doing quite well, thank you. Last Prisoner’s core mission centers on prisoner release, record clearing, and reentry Said Gersten, “We really feel that anyone or programming that provides resources any company that is now profiting off the (including financial help) and education sale of legal marijuana has a moral obligain an effort to reduce recidivism rates. The tion to give back to the kinds of initiatives organization doesn’t stop at getting prisonwe’re pursuing. We’re heartened by all the ers paroled or granted clemency. Once out, support, particularly from a lot of the opwithout financial resources and other assiserators in Michigan. It’s a really good signal tance in place, ex-prisoners are likely to fail. that so many Americans really believe in the Cannabis Caucus of the Democratic Party, Clean Smoke Initiative, and the Redemption Foundation, among others.

“We have a huge support system in place for

work we’re doing and believe in reforming

fall 2021| MIGreenState

these laws.” Gersten encourages marijuana advocates to lend a hand. Apart from donations, one of the best ways members of the general public can help is through something that has largely become obsolete in the digital age: letter writing. Last Prisoners Project’s website provides guidance on what to write and shares information on prisoners’ stories. Anybody who has done time or is doing time will attest to the power of the pen. “Our letter writing program is one of the best ways to get involved,” she said. “We know from our constituents that this is monumental. It makes such a huge difference in their lives to know that people care, that people are fighting for their freedom. They aren’t forgotten. We put a face on each individual case.” One of Last Prisoner Project’s most successful clemency campaigns to date occurred right here in Michigan. It involved the case of Flint’s Michael Thompson, who served 24 years behind bars stemming from the sale of three pounds of marijuana to an undercover informant. DeAngelo and other activists had lobbied for Thompson’s release for years. It finally happened earlier this year when, in an unusual move for a first-term governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer granted him clemency. Thompson was the longest-serving marijuana prisoner in the state.

The organization also pushed hard for the release of another Michigan cannabis prisoner, Jason Szymanski, who served three years in a Jackson prison for a cannabis-related crime that is no longer illegal in the state. Szymanski, according to Last Prisoner Project, was imprisoned for using medical marijuana while on parole to deal with serious medical issues. A subsequent court ruling determined that use of cannabis recommended by a physician is not cause to violate a person’s parole status. “The political climate is definitely changing,” Gersten said. “It’s a trend we’re seeing across the country. Even in very red states, you’re starting to see an understanding that criminalizing marijuana is not effective public health or public safety policy. There is a sea of change happening in Michigan especially from progressive prosecutors—which is huge. We are seeing the mass incarceration of people for simple marijuana possession ending. Citizens here and across the country are calling for criminal justice reform and we’re seeing that happen.” To find out more about Last Prisoner Project, please visit its website at:

Jason Szymanski was freed on parole after serving 3 years in prison for cannabis after a push by Last Prisoner Project.

His release was a shining moment for Last Prisoner Project and everyone else along the way that lobbied lawmakers, wrote letters, garnered media attention and personalized Thompson’s plight. “It was enlightening for people to learn about Mr. Thompson, to learn about his family, his background and the incredible injustice he suffered,” Gersten said. “He is such an incredible advocate and warm person. His case represented a huge opportunity for us to engage the public in our fight.”

Issue 4 | fall 2021

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Alphabet soup: What are all these ‘new’ cannabis products, and should I be trying them? ELISSA ESHER | FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE Finding the perfect cannabis product can seem like a high-stakes game of Banana Grams lately. A decade ago, the only thing most people were choosing between was tried-andtrue THC or its trendy cousin, CBD. But a smorgasbord of new cannabinoids have been tested since then, each boasting different effects than the others. Now, you can opt for CBN, CBG, CBL, CBDA, A,B,C,D,E,F,G… you get the picture. And while all these new products are exciting evidence of how far cannabis research has come, we couldn’t help but wonder, “Are they really worth trying?”

-8 Delta 8 THC (or, more simply, D8) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants. You can think of it as the little sister to Delta-9 THC, the THC we’re used to finding in cannabis products, which is responsible for getting you high. The difference between Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC is Delta-8 is less potent than Delta-9. While Delta-9 THC sometimes makes users paranoid, overwhelmingly fatigued, and can even spark hallucinations, Delta-8 THC is marketed as producing a lighter high with milder affects. So, if you find yourself experiencing anxiety when you use THC, but still want to feel a buzz, Delta-8 THC products might be right for you.

So we rolled up our sleeves, did a little digging, and found out what actually distinguishes CBD from CBL, Delta-8 from Delta-9, and everything in between. And to save you some time, we put it all in one place. Here’s what you need to know about the top “new” cannabis products on the market. Editor’s note: The laws concerning the sale, cultivation, and use of the following products are different in every state. Check your state’s marijuana laws before purchasing. CBN stands for “cannabinol,” which is one of the many chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. While it may sound a lot like cannabidiol (CBD), the two compounds are less alike than you’d expect.

Just as THCA and CBDA convert to THC and CBD when exposed to ultraviolet rays and heat, CBL (also referred to as cannabicyclol, or CBP) is the product of the degradation of CBC, the third most prevent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. There’s very little known about this compound but from looking at its molecular structure, researchers are pretty sure it has no cerebral effects. CBL is one of the least researched compounds in the cannabis plant, as it was only discovered in 1964. Since it comes from CBC, which is showing promise for medicinal use, researchers are optimistic that future studies will show health benefits linked to CBL in the future. But, for now, no one can say more than that.

In every cannabis plant, there’s something called cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) that exists as the precursor to THCA and CBDA in hemp and cannabis plants. When THCA and CBDA are exposed to ultraviolet rays to heat, they will convert into the THC and CBD compounds you’re probably familiar with. But CBGA can also break down to a

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The major difference is that CBD generally will not produce a psychoactive effect, but CBN sometimes will. This is because CBN is the product of the breakdown of THC – the cannabinoid responsible for producing a high. When a cannabis bud ages, the THC in it converts to CBN, meaning CBN can actually be mildly intoxicating. RELATED: They say weed is stronger these days. But exactly how much more potent is today’s weed? You probably won’t feel a strong high from it, but the limited research we have on CBN shows it can act as a sedative, which could make it an effective sleep aid.

cannabinoid called CBG in this process. And though most cannabis plants are made up of less than 1% CBG, some believe we may be underestimating the power of this chemical compound.

are pretty cool. CBG won’t get you high, but some studies are showing it may have neuroprotective power. It’s been shown to  protect the neurons  of mice with Huntington’s disease, which causes nerve There hasn’t been a lot of research done cell degeneration in the brain. Another on CBG, but the potential medicinal study showed it is able to slow the growth benefits researchers have identified so far of cancer cells in mice.

fall 2021| MIGreenState

Cannabichromene or CBC is the third most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, just under THC and CBD. It has no psychoactive properties, but its ability to bind with receptors in the body related to pain has made some researchers flag it as a potential painreliever and muscle relaxant. Additionally, CBC has the ability to increase levels of anandamide in the body, a natural endocannabinoid. There’s not a lot of research out there yet, but several studies have indicated this ability may make it one of the most effective cannabinoids in inhibiting tumor growth in cancer patients.


But while CBC is showing great potential in the lab, its effect on day-to-day users is very similar to CBD  – it’s a non-intoxicating anti-inflammatory that some people use to help relieve pain. Further research will determine how much CBC will distinguish itself from its cannabinoid cousin in the future.

& We’ve been spending a lot of time with one side of the cannabis family. Now, it’s time to meet the varins. Varin-type cannabinoids are a sub-family of other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While CBD and THC have 5-carbon tails, varins have 3-carbon tails that are shorter than those of other cannabinoids. This small difference in tail length means THCV and CBDV as well as CBGV, CBCV, etc. ways, much different than other cannabinoids. but will only give you roughly  25%  of the THC would produce.

varin-type cannabinoids, including produce effects that are, in many For instance, THCV is psychoactive, high that the same amount of

THCV and CBDV make up less than 1% of cannabis and hemp plants today, but many growers are trying to breed strains containing more THCV and CBDV. Their interest in varin-types likely stems from recent studies suggesting THCV, and possibly CBDV, may be excellent  appetite suppressors  and may promote a healthier metabolism. Because of this research, THCV has taken on the nickname “skinny pot.”

Before CBD and THC molecules are exposed to ultraviolet rays or heat, they exist as “acidic cannabinoids” – i.e. THCA and CBDA. These molecules are larger than THC and CBD, which means they will not bind to the brain’s CB1 receptors, which is what causes CBD to have a calming effect on people with anxiety, and which generates the high experienced from THC intake. But the latest research on these raw plant cannabinoids shows they have a wealth of medicinal potential. Recent studies have shown that while acidic cannabinoids have little effect on the endocannabinoid system, they do have the power to boost serotonin levels and decrease inflammation – acting similarly to everyday antiinflammatories such as ibuprofen. For kids using cannabis to treat pain, acidic cannabinoids could be an ideal solution. A growing amount of research suggests CBD and THC’s reaction with the brain’s endocannabinoid system may impair brain development in minors. But since acidic cannabinoids don’t touch that system, some cannabis clinicians suggest THCA and CBDA could be used to mitigate pain without putting children at as much risk.

Got questions about other cannabis products? Send an email to let us know! Issue 4 | fall 2021

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SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Clean with Cannabis: How the plant saved a man from addiction and inspired a mother-son owned CBD company AURORA RAE FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE

Dan Cochran, left, with Scott Korth, founder.

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Scott Korth sat in the passenger’s seat of a rental car as his mom, Amy Korth, pulled into the driveway of his family’s home on June 12, 2016. As he rolled up to the Breckenridge residence – originally owned by his grandparents – he “hoped this would be the time” he got clean. And it was. Returning home was “so surreal,” Scott said. “I was really, really hazy.” Born and raised in Wichita, Kans., Scott started using drugs at a young age after a skateboarding accident at 15-years old left with him a broken leg and a 5-milligram oxycodone prescription. His addiction to pills as a teenager started from there, and by the time he was in his 20s, he was using opioids. Living with his mom, the addiction became so intense that it began to drain her of her money. She said she loaned him cash every day and even pawned her instruments and antiques. Amy decided enough was enough in 2013. “I was going to die if I stayed there because all I was doing was trying to survive,” she said. “My friend Danny bought me a plane ticket and said, “Get out of there, you gotta do the tough love thing or you’re both going to die.” So, that’s what saved our lives.” Amy gave up her “beautiful” Wichita home and returned to the one they now live in, in Michigan.

Scott did not join his mom in moving up north because it meant leaving his dog/best friend, Alex, behind. “I got her when she was a baby, I wasn’t just going to leave her at the age of 12,” he said. “I couldn’t do that.” Scott and Alex stayed in the empty house with nowhere else to go. “No furniture, no electricity, no power,” he said. “I slept on a floor with my dog because that was the home, I grew up in… there was no life there anymore and I was still staying there and it was so weird. It wasn’t our house so I technically could have been arrested for trespassing.” It was not long until a new owner notified him of renovations that were soon to begin, meaning they had to vacate. “That’s when the homelessness became very real,” he said. He and Alex stuck by each other’s side as they battled life on the streets for three years until she passed away in 2016. Her death left Scott with no reason, other than destructive habits, to stay in Wichita. “I was dying,” he said. “My hepatitis C was so bad. I didn’t know I had it while I was in the city, I was still using… I couldn’t stand up for periods of time and stuff when I was living in this lady’s basement… It was a really rough winter.” Without Alex in his life, Scott was ready to reunite with his family, and a cleaner lifestyle, in Michigan. “He called me and said he was ready,” Amy said.

“So, we rented a car.” With three days’ notice, Scott’s dad and sister picked him up in Wichita and drove north towards Michigan. Amy and her mom, Paula Brown, met them in the middle-brought Scott back to the comfort of their central Michigan home. “I knew it was going to be a long road,” Amy said. “And I’d already been down that road with him… Having mom in the mix and trying to protect her and make sure they got along okay was nerve-wracking.” Despite his family’s efforts to get him sober, Scott “didn’t know what I was expecting” and stocked his pockets with heroin and crack prior to leaving Kansas. With enough supply to last him a few weeks, he was “trying to keep myself from getting sick until I was able to meet somebody here.” He was unexpectedly greeted by an overwhelming amount of love that he had not felt in decades. “It’s crazy, being loved and being taken care of and all that for the first time,” he said. “It was just nuts, like the first time since I was 12 or so when my parents got divorced.” The compassion his family showed him was enough to set him on a better path and work towards a future he never thought he would be alive to see. He started going to a methadone clinic, in Mount Pleasant, every day. “Going up there introduced me to a whole bunch of different growers and smokers in general,” he

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s A o t “ h a l H w “ a m s S t b “ d j w g B “ h d w w S t s w w b h “

Scott was not the only one who benefited from it, though. Amy and other family members and friends tried it. “I started taking it and seeing a huge difference in my hands because they were so bad from playing so much guitar,” Amy said. “And then my mom started taking it and her knees got better and then we just started talking about it to our Sweet Adeline (Acapella) friends.” More and more people showed a strong liking of their products. They decided it was time to officially put a name on the products they were creating. After a few days of brainstorming, Scott said the perfect one came to him in his sleep. He had an experience that he’d only ever felt twice in his life. The first time he was “being spoken to from above” and was told to “get ready.” He said he shortly after became an IV drug user. The second time, however, he had a better outcome. He walked away with the name of his company: God’s Green Earth. Amy said she has received several complements Amy Korth showcasing God’s Green Earth products in Breckenridge, Michigan. on the name, and some customers have told her they have chosen them because of it. said. mood and just in my overall happiness,” he said. “I After about six months, a lady he met at the clinic hadn’t smoked at all that day, then I take one hit or Scott hand-grows and hand-trims all the flower, offered him marijuana and he obliged for the first smoke one bowl and come back five minutes later and makes extracts himself, too. Amy makes the and I’m a whole different person.” companies CBD tinctures, balms, mists, capsules, time since he was a teenager. oils, gummies, and other products in their home Scott said Brown “could no longer deny the “She gave me just a couple buds one day – and I along with help from her boyfriend, Dan Cochran. medicinal benefits” of marijuana but the two hadn’t smoked in years – came home, smoked it, and felt more normal than I had… since I had my continued to buttheads as she did not appreciate She also operates the marketing side of the business as Scott prefers to stay in the comfort of the presence or smell in her home. last shot of heroin.” their home. “I would get super defensive,” he said. “I had blowHe said cannabis changed him in nearly every Amy said they make up to $1000 in sales each day outs with my grandma, and I can’t believe that way. with the online store, and she frequents farmer’s happened. I was such a different person. ” “The mood lifting alone from it made me actually markets and other events in the summertime. Scott said it took about a year of him “smoking in able to stay positive enough to get through the Scott emphasizes being a “small-family company medication and Hep C and the withdraw at all the the house every day, her not liking it and giving that produces only small batch stuff and…. will me the face” for her to become comfortable with same time,” he said. not mess up.” He thinks small businesses in the his lifestyle. Scott and his mom began making weekly trips cannabis industry will be “the only way that we “Now, her and her 80-year-old farmer husband to dispensaries an hour or more away, which really benefit as a whole state.” keep bringing articles over about growing hemp became very pricy on Amy’s expense. He said there are a few reasons why the high-qualand they’re really thinking about it,” Amy said. “She would give me like $200 a week and we’d ity marijuana produced by a small-scale grow is “That’s crazy.” drive to Lansing to get weed,” he said. “It became not possible to make in corporate dispensaries. Amy continued to buy Scott marijuana and even just insane throughout the first year of buying “The things we do here in the house are much, started buying CBD products, too, as he noticed weed. Without telling my grandma, I just started much more precise than the corporate places major improvements in his overall wellbeing. But growing some plants up here.” would be doing in huge batches,” he said. “And it got to the point that she simply could not afford But Amy was hesitant for Scott to do so. they can’t give love to every single plant.” it anymore. “My mom is one tough little lady,” she said. “Getting Scott believes the relationship – and love – beher to get on board with this whole idea was very “The amount of money that we were dropping on tween the plant and grower is equally as importweed alone not mentioning the CBD was more difficult. It was very stressful for me when there ant as anything else to help it flourish. was any strife between Scott and mom because I than I was making,” Amy said. “There’s nothing special about the energy of She started to research marijuana, specifically CBD (dispensary) plants anymore because the person was kind of like the peacekeeper.” and learned the chemistry behind its absorption Scott eventually told his grandma, Paula Brown, didn’t put love into it,” he said. “Plants feel vibrain the body. that he was going to get his medical card, but tions just as much as we do… from us touching “I came across water soluble CBD, and I wanted she was against his decision. It was not until they them, us giving them attention every day. With him on it,” she said. “It was going to be 10-times were on a 3-hour road trip to his aunt’s house thousands of plants and hundreds of different when he became “irritable and scared on the road more effective.” growers under one head grower, there’s no one because it was snowy”, that Brown recommended In 2019, she purchased a bulk order of CBD “with person that loves that one plant specifically.” he smoke. her mother’s credit card” to make her very first Scott said he believes the difference is even pres“She saw the radical, drastic difference in my batch of tinctures in “little red bottles.” ent in how bud smokes.

Issue 4 | fall 2021

“I believe that the energy that you get when you smoke (a corporate grown) plant is not as up to par as a plant who’s grown with love,” he said. Scott plans to grow his plants with love for as long as he can. He wants to start working with whole plants instead of isolated cannabinoid compounds because it is “so much more effective in the body.” “It would have THC, CBN, CBG, all of the cannabinoids come in the plant,” he said. “Instead of somebody growing the plant, extracting each cannabinoid individually, selling them, and then we put them back together, why would we go through all that when we could just extract it from a whole plant in the first place?” He said he really wants to get more THC into consumers bodies because “people that are getting effects of just CBD alone don’t even understand how much more it would help if there was just 1% THC in there.” Scott and Amy have also started growing, and studying, mushrooms. The first, and only, mushroom they have grown so far is called Pink Oyster. “We feel like they were pretty successful, but we know some things we did wrong as well,” Amy said. They both have their own plans for mushroom-based products they want to make in the future. Amy wants to develop a CBD-mushroom tincture and Scott wants to make psylocibin mushroom micro-dose tinctures – dependent upon decriminalization – “for people just to take tiny, tiny, tiny amounts to really help rewire the brain.” Scott said he someday wants to expand his side of the business by adding more plants – but that would require relocating because he is currently generating all the electricity possible from their house. “With the tents that I have, I literally can’t run any more power,” he said. “And being completely surrounded by houses in our backyard and the apartments on the far side, I don’t want to grow and have my whole crop get ripped off at the end of the season. That would just break my heart.” Because of that, he wants to buy his own land somewhere in the lower part of Michigan where he can “do a proper full-scale hemp and cannabis grow.” Scott said he ideally wants a pole barn in which he can grow premium plants year-round indoors and lower-grade bud outside. “I also want to have animals,” he said. “I want milk animals, and more chickens, lambs, and goats… I want a cow; I pretty much have to have a horse.” But until that day comes, Scott remains working hard, alongside his mom, in their First Street home, growing, producing, and selling high quality CBD and THC products for all those living on God’s Green Earth.

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Michigan’s first THC-infused beverage redefines ‘Happi’ hour, promotes cannabis accessibility for women AURORA RAE FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE

that are usually gummies and not very nutritious. She became “really passionate about… products that are more accessible for women.”

“A Happi in hand is the new way to celebrate happy hour.” Joe Reynolds, Chief Happi Officer, said.

“Women tend to like to smoke less than men typically,” she said. “And like lower dose products especially for those that have never really used cannabis or are very light users of cannabis.”

Happi is the first cannabis-infused drink to hit the Michigan market. Reynolds and business partner, Lisa Hurwitz, recently launched the all-natural seltzer, geared toward women, hoping to redefine the evening drinking hour. “There’s a lot of women that love to drink wine but they don’t like the calories and the hangover,” Hurwitz, now president, said. “This is really another option that’s healthier and it doesn’t have the hangover and is much more social as well than just having a gummy and waiting for 30-45 minutes. The onset of Happi is around 15 minutes.” Reynolds said the inspiration for him struck in the summer of 2019 “born from the idea for a low-calorie alternative to alcohol.” He started to ponder the possibility of drinking it. He also recognized the need for a cannabis product geared toward women from his wife and her friends. “They are the Happi customer-women looking to celebrate life’s happiest moments with an alternative to alcohol,” he said. Just a short time later, in January 2020, he founded the company. He worked on formulations and other technicalities until joining forces with Hurwitz about seven months later. Prior to their collaboration, Hurwitz worked at an Illinois-based, multi-state cannabis company, where she noticed there were “fewer non-smokable products”

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Hurwitz and Reynolds became aware of their mutual desire to find a product that appealed to women and was a healthy alternative to smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol. Hurwitz left the company she worked at in October 2020 to embark on the entrepreneurial journey. “Joe and I connected about a year ago,” she said. “And the rest is history.” Together, the two created the vegan, gluten-free, all-natural seltzer that joined the market in October. It was originally expected to be released on Labor Day but ran into unexpected delays. They now offer two flavors – raspberry honeysuckle and lemon elderflower – each with 2.5 milligrams of THC and plan to launch a third, pomegranate hibiscus, around the holidays. They have between 15-25 calories each, less than 10 – natural – ingredients, and no added sugar. She said they plan to add more flavors to the list in the spring. Happi drinks can be found online and in seven dispensaries including Skymint in Ann Arbor, Redbud Roots in Muskegon, Sunset Coast in Cassopolis, Pinnacle Emporium in Buchanan and 3Fifteen in Hamtramck, Grand Rapids Plainfield, and Grand Rapids Division. They also partner with Lantern, a delivery service, to bring the drink right to your door in select areas. They are regularly adding Happi drinks to

new locations that can be found on their website Hurwitz said they want to launch their brand in Massachusetts - by March or April – and other cannabis legal states from there. She and Reynolds have been building up the brand in other ways using their “Happi Camper.” “We had a tour this summer with our Happi Camper and sampled THC-free versions of our product,” she said. “So, people can taste the flavors before they were actually available on the market to build an excitement.” Hurwitz said they foresee remaining in the beverage industry and plan to explore other flavors and dosages. “The idea is you’re able to drink several in a setting,” she said. “But there are people that like a 5-milligram version for example.” She said they also want to experiment with more cannabinoids than just THC. “There is no CBD in the product and there are no other minor cannabinoids like CBN or CBG,” she said. “But those are all things we’re looking at.” Hurwitz said social equity is important to the crew at Happi. Their emphasis on representation extends outside of their targeted women audience. They partner with the Black and Brown Cannabis Guild of Michigan. “All of our merchandise with Happi on it, the proceeds go to that organization which is women-founded as well,” she said. “That’s a really important partnership for us and we really believe in giving back.” Hurwitz, Reynolds and their four-employee team plan to expand the company in quite a few ways all the while fulfilling their mission to “celebrate life’s happy moments.”

fall 2021| MIGreenState

Connoisseur Connoisseur or just cannabis or just cannabis curious? curious?

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Issue 4 | fall 2021

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Should you use cannabis as pre-workout? We asked health experts how CBD and THC affects exercise ELISSA ESHER FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE As athletic organizations such as the NFL, MLB, and NHL have begun allowing competitors to use cannabis and/or CBD, you might be thinking of taking a hit before hitting the gym. And hey, it’s 2021 – you probably wouldn’t be the only one there who’s taking their workout to a “higher” level. Like pre-workout supplements, cannabis improves energy during exercise for some users, and it’s also reported to aid with the recovery after. A 2019 survey by CU Boulder showed eight out of ten participating cannabis users consumed cannabis shortly before or after physical activity, and that those users exercised more often and for longer periods of time than those who did not use cannabis for exercise. But the research on cannabis use in athletics is purely anecdotal. So, while you can use cannabis before working out, the question of whether you should gets a little hazy. To clear the air, we asked health experts to tell us what they see as the benefits and risks of using cannabis as pre-workout. When it comes to using cannabis as pre-workout, some potential benefits are: 1. It can help you focus and be more aware of your body There’s a reason cannabis-infused yoga is taking the country by storm. According to Dr. Kenneth Weinberg, Chief Medical Officer at Cannabis Doctors of New York, consuming CBD or cannabis before working out enhances focus for many users – both on the task at hand and on the body itself.

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“It makes my patients much more aware of their muscles and what they are doing,” Weinberg told GreenState. “You’re really concentrating on your body after you use cannabis, in a way that you don’t otherwise.” This acute awareness is ideal for exercises for which mindfulness is key, but can be beneficial for any kind of workout. It can also benefit those with attention disorders, such as ADHD. 2. It can decrease pain While there aren’t many studies related to how cannabis directly affects workouts, there is research strongly indicating that THC and CBD can decrease inflammation in the body, which would explain why many users say it eases pain. Weinberg says cannabis enables many of his patients suffering from chronic pain to exercise when they otherwise could not. “I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve seen with chronic pain who are overweight,” Weinberg said. “They tell me not only has cannabis reduced their pain, it’s reducing it enough that they can work out again, and that’s making them feel better both emotionally and physically. They are able to get around more, and they’re losing weight, and they feel better.” Weinberg added that the anti-inflammatory affects of cannabis and CBD can also aid in post-workout recovery in the same way pre-workout supplements might. This past year, Olympic athletes were allowed to use CBD in training for the first time, and some opted to use it as a supplement or alternative to potentially harmful painkillers.

Medicine Specialist Kathryn Cannon, cannabis can be a great way to clear the negative, critical thoughts keeping you away from the gym. “Using cannabis as pre-workout can assist us in clearing mental blocks associated with performance,” Cannon told GreenState. Studies indicate cannabis and CBD both have anxiety-relieving properties that could contribute to this effect. Many people suffering from depression and anxiety have found cannabis to be a beneficial supplement to therapy, medication, and other treatments for mood disorders. 4. It may relax muscles One effect of cannabis that is almost universally accepted is that it helps the body to relax. While nothing is proven, Weinberg believes this effect may help muscles repair post-workout.

Cannon said. So far, only Delta-9 THC (i.e. the kind of THC found in most cannabis products, which causes psychoactive effects) and Delta-8 THC to a lesser degree are believed to cause this effect. CBD does not seem to be a bronchodilator. So, what’s the catch? While the benefits make using cannabis as pre-workout seem like a no-brainer, there is some risk to consuming cannabis before intense physical activity. Cannon and Weinberg caution that cannabis often makes people slower to react, which can make accidents more likely to happen. Additionally, consuming too much cannabis can significantly elevate your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. If you experience these symptoms while working out, stop and seek medical attention immediately.

“I have a lot of patients with multiple sclerosis, and high THC products are really helpful for them because muscle spasticity is relieved by THC,” Weinberg said. “Cannabis increases blood flow, so it makes sense that tense muscles might be able to relax and repair better after a workout if you use cannabis right after exercising.”

To avoid these unwanted effects, Weinberg recommends consulting a physician before incorporating cannabis into your workout routine. Then, start with the lowest possible dose and work upward from there.

5. It may open up your airways

“The delivery method makes a difference,” Cannon said. “A few drops of a tincture can be enough to make a difference in performance. I recommend using topicals after workouts to decrease inflammation and pain.”

3. It can help you overcome the mental blocks preventing you from working out

For those looking to get a little more cardio in your workout, here’s some good news. Some studies indicate that THC may be a bronchodilator, meaning it could cause you to breathe better while exercising if consumed before working out. Cannon said this could be particularly helpful for those with respiratory diseases, such as asthma, who find exercise challenging.

As we all know too well, working your body starts with your mind. According to Plant

“If you have an existing lung condition, THC can open up the airways when taken in low doses,”

Cannon also recommends trying different forms of consumption based on your needs.

Cannabis affects everyone differently, so the only way to really discover what dosages and products work best for your health and wellness goals is by keeping track of what works, and what doesn’t work, for you. Take notes on how each product and dosage makes you feel, and adjust your regimen as needed.

fall 2021| MIGreenState


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Marijuana plants grow and bud on July 16, at Hempire Collective, 10147 N. Loomis Road.

Findings show the cannabis crop is the third most valuable crop in Michigan, worth more than the value of hay and apples combined.

Cannabis crop more valuable than hay and apples combined in Michigan ANGELA MULKA FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE Last week, Leafly, a cannabis discovery marketplace, released its inaugural Cannabis Harvest Report, the first look at cannabis crop data, insights and projections across the 11 states where Americans can purchase both adult-use and medical cannabis.

found that cannabis has become a major agricultural commodity that supports thousands of American farmers and farm communities, including 13,042 licensed farms in the aggregate.

uncounted and ignored by state agriculture officials.

With a wholesale harvest value of $6.2 billion, America’s cannabis harvest ranks above cotton and below wheat, based on USDA data for 2020. Only corn, soybeans, hay and wheat bring in more money to American farmers.

ing,” David Downs, the report’s lead author and Leafly’s California bureau chief, said in a statement. “America’s adult-use wholesale cannabis crop returned a mind-boggling $6.175 billion to farmers last year, ranking it as the fifth most valuable crop in the United States.

In Alaska, the state’s cannabis crop is worth more than twice as much as all other agriculturOn an annual basis, those growers harvest 2,278 al products combined. metric tons (5,022,990 pounds) of cannabis, “The Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report is an unmaking it the 5th most valuable crop in the precedented national accounting of cannabis nation. as a crop — and what we found was astound-

In Michigan, with 487 licenses so far distributed, 189 metric tons of cannabis are produced annually, according to the report, bringing in $736 million to the state and its farmers. That makes the cannaIn each of the 11 states with adult-use retail bis crop the third most valuable crop in the state, second to corn and soybeans. That’s more than the stores operating, cannabis ranks no lower than 5th in terms of agricultural crop value — often values of the hay and apple crops combined. within two years of the first store opening. Legal In partnership with Whitney Economics, Leafly’s cannabis is the single most valuable agriculinvestigative team gathered and analyzed crop tural crop in Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, data from the 11 states with operating legal Nevada and Oregon, the study found, but acadult-use and medical cannabis markets and cording to a press release, it remains completely

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“Yet, due to federal prohibition, America does not treat cannabis farmers like farmers,” Downs continued. “They are subject to more state and federal taxes, regulations and stigma than any other type of farmer. These barriers hurt small legacy farmers the most. This plant is helping generate wealth, employment, and commu-

nity investment around the country, and our legislators need to recognize the opportunity cannabis presents for Americans today.” Only officially state-licensed cannabis farms were counted in the report. Leafly followed the USDA’s approach, ascertaining production amounts for the most recent 12-month reporting period in each state, and multiplying that production by wholesale prices in each state to arrive at the crop’s value. Leafly has been gathering cannabis employment and sales data since 2015 with its annual Jobs Report, filling an information gap created by a lack of data collection from the U.S. Department of Labor, which does not count cannabis jobs due to federal prohibition. Similarly, the USDA does not account for cannabis crops, and excludes cannabis farmers from all of its programs, due to cannabis’ status as a federal Schedule I drug.

fall 2021| MIGreenState

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Issue 4 | fall 2021


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Bud Brand Inspired by Band: Cannabis entrepreneur remedies neuropathy, pays homage to Phish with cannabis company AURORA RAE FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE Over a decade ago, Rob Robar made a decision that changed his life. After working a job that required driving long hours cross country, he blew his back out in 2001. Herniations, sciatic pain, and even surgeries followed. He returned to the job less than a year later, and for the next decade, remedied his neuropathy – and pain – with prescription drugs. “(It was) five years of straight Vicodin, and whatever else type things like that,” he said. “Then it was those plus Xanax or other benzos, things like that, that were to make me feel better about the other (because) you were so miserable… I never felt better, ever.” FEELING BETTER Robar said he made a choice, in 2010,

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to pursue natural methods… and found himself finally feeling better. “I left all pharmaceuticals behind,” he said. “For the most part cannabis is what saved me back then. It gave me great not only pain relief but focus. It also gave me the ability to get up and workout a bit, spending 30-minutes a day of movement, or just start to feel better… Next thing I know a year later, I lost 175 pounds.” Robar obtained a medical marijuana card and turned to cannabis infused products he bought from dispensaries, like Bloom City Club based in Ann Arbor, to relieve his symptoms. “I was buying them… and I was like ‘Wow this is really cool, its works’,” he said. “But then, also, it was a little bit expensive.” AN INSPIRATIONAL TRIP TO COLORADO In 2016, Robar traveled to Colorado to see his favorite band: Phish. Unlike his

more recent discovery of cannabis, the rock band was nothing new to him. “I always call them the soundtrack to my life,” he said. His infatuation with Phish began after seeing them for the first time on a Grateful Dead tour thirty years ago in Ann Arbor. “The first ever show I saw was in (1991 in a) little, tiny bar downstairs, maybe 200 people and I’ve now seen them with as many as 150-some-thousand.” Phish has been “a big influence (on) how I do a lot of things,” he said, including entrepreneurship. It was in Colorado he bought “a bunch of topicals” that, as expected, helped him relax. He said his “legs constantly spasm”, especially in his sleep, and finding the relief he did with topicals inspired him to personally recreate it and do more with cannabis than simply use it himself. “When I came back home, it just inspired

me to do something with it,” he said. “And create something that I thought was more.” CREATING A PLATFORM

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N s a p p w l “ d “ m T w v c s p “ s b m h

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The Helping Friendly Hemp Company was born. His original hand-made was pachouli scented. Within a year, he had a four-scent set including other smells orange lavender, unscented, and cooling. “I started researching 13 different essential oils that are all (for) treating neuropathy,” he said. “That’s how I came up with the first one, just spending about a year and a half of tweaking out the formulas and then once we were in a more commercial setting, we were able to really dial in… make sure it’s always consistent.” From there, he made different scents to appeal to a wider audience. “It became a thing of like how do we make other sets for other people,” he said. HITTING NEW MILESTONES Now, the company, based in Madison Heights, is approaching its 5th anniversary. Robar said they have products in 60% of Michigan dispensaries, over 1500 stores nationwide, and even in some countries like Mexico and China. “My first year… I think I might have done like 35,000 in sales,” he said. “Now, this year we should hit 2 million.” The company now has four partners with the company and sells a wide variety of products like flower, soft chews, tinctures, and topicals. He said they are in the process of expanding to sell THC products too. “Moving from a hemp brand that I started so many years ago to now being in the normal legal regulated marketplace is something that’s a huge thing for me,” he said. PAYING HOMAGE TO A ROCK BAND Robar’s favorite band, Phish, inspired the company name – Helping Friendly is the name of a bible-like book that existed within the story line of a collection of songs made by lead vocalist Trey Anastasio for his college thesis. “The normal world has no idea,” he said. Paying homage to the rock band is not the only way he keeps his love of the four-man crew alive. He has followed them around the country

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on tours, often on behalf of his company. Robar has even shared products with band members like Trey Anastasio and Jeff Holdsworth. “It’s… interesting that you’re able to get that close to the band,” he said. “I’ve met them quite a few times way back when… the last time I shook their hands was like ’95.” He said he completed an eightshow run over the summer, in which he officially attended his 100th show. Robar said his favorite song, Wingsuit, stands out because it offers a freedom he does not otherwise feel. “Wingsuit is a suit that you jump off a cliff in and you float. Why would you go out and do that?” he said. “Because it feels good. As somebody with disability issues, things like that you don’t get to do.” Robar said a “total uplifting spiritual” moment left him chasing the feeling their music evoked in him. “One time… my body was so sore, I felt like I was going to collapse,” he said. “I sit down, the song is playing, I listen to it and… I stood up and I was like “Holy shit!” Everything I just felt at the beginning of this 20-minute song went away.” MEETING AND BONDING WITH FANS Robar still finds ways to share his deep admiration of Phish with others. He has spent the last four to five years sponsoring fan-related events and a fan-based magazine, like Surrender to the Flow. He said Phish fans like him have been “instrumental” in his growth with the company because of their open-mindedness and optimism. “They’re accepting and inspired by it,” he said. “This is why I’m doing it.” FINDING A PASSION OUTSIDE OF CANNABIS Robar found inspiration from Phish in more ways than one. He said “going on tour and experiencing these things led me to” create a non-profit geared towards increasing accessibility at music events. Called The Weekapaug Collective, Robar said the main objective is to make music events easier for those with a disability to attend.

“(Venues) are required by law to have a certain amount of handicap accessible seats, that’s it though, they don’t need to do shit for you,” he said. “Imagine trying to navigate a wheelchair into any of those porta-johns – or not even having a wheelchair, just trying to get into (them) sometimes.” Robar said there are many other ways able-bodied people use space unintended for them, too. “It’s like when you walk up to the accessible entrance that is literally loaded with 10,000 people who are not that,” he said. “Why is that entrance not open just for us?” He plans to reserve booths next year, at places like Electric Forest in Rothbury, MI on behalf of the collective.

Proprietary CBG dominant blend salve.

IMPROVING PEOPLE’S LIVES IN OTHER WAYS Robar’s passion for improving people’s lives does not end there. He is involved in other initiatives like the Hero Project, a non-profit aimed to provide financial service to veterans. After seeing several of his friends and family members “being stuffed into the Veteran Association (that) is just so awful,” Robar decided to take on the cause. In addition, the Hero Project “helps bridge the gap (for veterans) to enter the cannabis space through either jobs, education, or even general plant knowledge to grow and helping take away some of their stresses… by connecting with a plant,”

It was 5 years ago the idea that became this brand came to light. The Helping Friendly Salve company now celebrates with their newest products. Dispensary Grade. It’s a continuation of that dream.

He said the Helping Friendly Hemp Co. donates 10% of their profit to the Hero Project. “Being a part of something much greater, always giving back as I go along this journey is a big part of it for me,” he said. “Anytime I can create things that can help give back as we go forward, it just does so much for everyone involved.”

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Cannabis entrepreneur finds passion in growing plant, caring for others

AURORA RAE FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE An Ann Arbor local is living out his passion of growing marijuana and caring for patients in his recently opened small-scale dispensary - a marijuana microbusiness – called Winewood Organics. A micro business is a dispensary that grows no more than 150 plants, can sell only products made in-house, and cannot distribute to other dispensaries. Owned by Eric Parkhurst, the store opened its doors Aug. 28 becoming the third of its kind to open in the state. Parkhurst has a unique method for hand-growing his plants, in his store decorated with polished wood and greenery. “We take a different approach and allow the plant to thrive in living organic soil,” he said. “We use insects and other biological controls to keep the plants healthy and free of disease.” His attention to detail is evident in the flower the plants produce. Budtender and Edible Chef, Kim Smith, said customers have noticed the difference. “To grow organically in soil is huge,” she said. “Our customers are noticing a huge difference

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in the flavor and the feel, the effect.” Starting from the ground up Upon opening, Winewood Organics offered two strains of flower and concentrate each. They now sell nearly 20, a dozen of which are available in flower form, the rest are sold in concentrates including sauces, sugars, batters, live resin, and hash rosin. “We’re growing incredible quality,” Smith said. The hash rosin is solvent-less and has the highest terpene content out of all the extracts. According to High Times, standard hash rosin has about 0.662 percent terpenes. Smith said concentrates that are plentiful in terpenes, like sauce and hash rosin, are often low in THC. She said the terpenes are “more wholistic” and often sought by cannabis connoisseurs. “(Sauce) retains not just the flavor and taste profile,” she said. “But also sort of the healing profile that the different terpenes bring to the table.” Processing sauce turns it into sugar or batter which typically offers a higher THC content and less terpenes. The business’ focus on high-grade and versatile products extends beyond concentrates. They are developing a sauce cartridge to add to the current collection, with an increased terpene content like that of the concentrate. They offer pre-rolls as well, but unlike other dispensaries that use left-over clippings to pack joints, Parkhurst uses “whole” flower. “We pride ourselves on (the fact that) we don’t put any shake or trim in them,” Smith said. “That’s what a lot of places do is roll up the leftovers and sell them as joints… we’re using 100% flower bud.” Projects and products in the works Parkhurst’s dispensary currently has a few projects underway to expand their business. One part of that is installing a kitchen, so Smith can cook edibles and train others to do so, too. “I’ve been formulating a few different recipes

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and we’ve gotten to one we like,” she said. “But we have to just get our kitchen in and approved.” They hope to have the kitchen done by the end of November. Smith said they have developed an organic, vegan gummy that aligns with their health-centric theme. “Since we grow all organically in soil… we wanted to be able to offer at least one popular edible that was also organic,” Smith said. “We’ve got a couple others that will follow that.” They are in the process of establishing a delivery service and in the future, want to add a consumption lounge which would require a

large space than they possess now. “I think we have to get to our fullest potential first in this location,” she said. “There are a few things to work out before (the consumption lounge) can happen and we don’t have the space on site for that yet.” Aside from physical growth, Smith said they are trying to expand their customer base but are limited due to their size. “We don’t have the big budget that big corporations do,” she said. “We don’t have that kind of marketing budget to do huge billboards and massive ads and so we’re advertising (in) some local magazines and also with articles and with word of mouth.”

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Parkhurst said there are other challenges that come with competing against corporate cannabis, but they are “using our size to our advantage.” Relocating to a legal state The business may be new to the community, but Parkhurst is familiar not only with the city he has lived in, but with the building he spends most of his days in. He and his wife, Becca, lived in Minnesota when she developed a brain growth that caused her severe pain. After western medicine proved unhelpful, they decided to relocate to Ann Arbor, drawn by the Michigan’s marijuana laws. Shortly after the move, Parkhurst “began meeting people who were looking for a caregiver to cultivate and supply them with cannabis.” He obtained his license under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Caregiver Act allowing him to produce marijuana for Becca and

any adult over the age of 21. His patient base slowly grew from there. After several years of work and filing to obtain the proper license, the building he’d worked in for half a decade officially became Winewood Organics. Working with a cohesive team The small business allows Parkhurst to not only share his passion with a small group of five full-time employees, but his best friend, too. About two years ago, Parkhurst was visited by a long-time friend, Marcus Huber. After reconnecting, the two decided to form a partnership. “We talked and decided very quickly it would be a great fit,” he said. “He had a passion for the plant and experience managing projects in his previous jobs. On top of that we know each other since we were teenagers.”

Smith joined shortly after and assisted them in “growing and pursuing the licenses.” She said the business is a collective effort between everyone involved. “We all pitch in and do everything,” she said. “We all want to learn everything that we can and so we cross train each other on things.” The team has quite a few ways in which they plan to improve their business, but Parkhurst has no intention of expanding outside of the small business model. Parkhurst simply wants to continue his passion of growing. “I love the microbusiness model,” he said. “(The small-scale grow) allows us to take the time to give each plant exactly what it needs to allow each strain to flourish… My goal is to produce the highest quality product possible, and the microbusiness is a great platform to explore that passion.”

Medical marijuana can help treat depression, anxiety, per new study SHEPARD PRICE FOR MICHIGAN GREEN STATE

and depression, even though scientific research in this area is both limited and shows mixed results.” The team of researchers conducted a study among a sample of participants who A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry showed that those diagnosed with reported having anxiety, depression, or both. clinical depression or anxiety who were using Of those participants, 368 were medicinal cannabis users, and 170 were considering medicinal marijuana had lower depression scores than non-users, and those who began using medicinal cannabis but had not yet begun using it. The majority of respondents taking cannabis during the follow-up period were female (79%) and Caucasian (83%). experienced a reduction in both anxiety and Participants answered questions about their depression symptoms. cannabis use and completed assessments of The study’s authors noted that many people anxiety, depression, recent pain, quality of life, with anxiety and depression, two of the and sleep quality. Every three months over a most common mental health conditions, period of roughly four years, the participants are turning to medicinal cannabis as a way were invited to complete a follow-up assessto manage their symptoms. Products can be ment. On average, participants completed made predominantly of THC, CBD or equal two assessments. amounts of both. Of those studied, 34% reported having “Anxiety and depressive disorders are highly anxiety, 15% reported having depression, prevalent. Traditional antidepressants may effectively treat these disorders in a lot of peo- and 51% reported having both. Additionally, 69% reported having a chronic pain disorder. ple, but they do not work for everyone and can have unpleasant side effects,” Erin Martin, Among cannabis users, CBD-dominant products were by far the most commonly used a Ph.D candidate at the Medical University of cannabis product, with such products being South Carolina and lead researcher, told PsyPost. “People are increasingly using medicinal used by 82% of users. Just under one-quarter of respondents (23%) cannabis products, especially products high in CBD, to try to treat symptoms of anxiety said they used THC-dominant products, 7%

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said they used products with an equal balance of THC and CBD, and 5% used products dominated by a minor cannabinoid, the study found. Those using cannabis reported lower levels of depression compared to nonusers, especially if they were using CBD-dominant products. Cannabis users also reported a higher quality of life, better sleep in the past month, less pain in the past month, and were more likely to demonstrate depression symptoms that were below clinical concern, the study found. People who were not using medicinal cannabis at the start of the study but began using during the follow-up period also demonstrated reductions in both anxiety and depression. They also showed improvements in the psychological domain scores on a shortened version of the World Health Organization Quality Of Life assessment. “Medicinal cannabis products, especially products high in CBD, may help to treat symptoms of depression, improve sleep, and increase quality of life,” Martin told PsyPost. “There is also some evidence that medicinal cannabis may alleviate symptoms of anxiety, particularly if administered over an extended period of time, but this is less clear from our results and warrants further study.”

The researchers used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale to analyze the participants’ experiences, according to Science Alert. On the HADS, a score above eight indicates clinical concern, but the score can go as high as 21. Those that were taking cannabis products showed lower levels of depression, but not anxiety. A greater proportion of those who took cannabis also scored below 8 on the HADS relative to controls. Cannabis users also reported better sleep in the last month than the controls, and rated their quality of life higher. The study authors acknowledge their findings are limited since they relied on participant self-reports, and they cannot rule out expectancy effects. They say that future studies using a placebo-controlled design will be needed to further explore the potential anxiety-alleviating and antidepressant effects of CBD and to shed light on optimal dosages. “This is an observational study in a convenience sample, so it is possible that the results we observed could be partially attributable to a placebo effect or to people being more likely to complete the study if they found medicinal cannabis products effectively treated their symptoms,” Martin explained.

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