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Cooking with Cannabis Chef Edward Villarreal INTERVIEW RUSSELL DOWDEN
THR: Welcome to the Texas Hemp Reporter magazine.. I understand you began cooking with cannabis to get relief from Parkinson disease . . . Is that right?
EV: Actually no, it all started out with the friend of mine’s partner who had cancer. My friend’s partner was having difficulty sleeping, difficulties eating, in general just not feeling well at all. So I decided to experiment. I did a lot of research on what cannabis can do for cancer patients who are going through chemo and I decided to make some cannabis honey. I gave it to him as a gift and it helped him relax, feel better get an appetite and sleep. From there I had another friend who I told this story too and he told me about a friend of his who had Parkinson’s disease and wanted to try it. This man was like a 65 year old man who had Parkinson’s pretty much his whole life and after trying the Cannabis honey he said he did better on the honey than he had ever done on any medication in his life which made me feel like I was up to something.
THR: How quickly did you begin noticing benefits from cannabis medicine?
EV: From what people were telling me the benefits were coming within hours of taking the Cannabis honey as a replacement for medicine. It took no time at all for things to take effect and life to get better for my friends.
THR: Are you still cooking at night at “The Palm” in downtown San Antonio?
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EV: I do cook at the Palm I’m their executive sous chef. But they have nothing to do with what I do. THR: Does cooking with cannabis present challenges in the kitchen? You will have to forgive me as my culinary knowledge in this space is limited to Brownies in College. :)
EV: There are actually many challenges cooking with cannabis things from temper to control. To specific timing control. Measurements have definitely gotten more detailed moving from Cubs to milliliters from ounces to grams. And the definite milligram count is a very specific science. Without having knowledge of these things you can definitely give people bad experiences and what should be a wonderful experience
THR: Chef, can you give us your recipe for Cannabis Pasta here in the Texas Hemp Reporter?
EV: Now I know this isn’t going to be a very cheffy pasta, but it’s definitely something anyone can do at home. If you were fortunate to pick up the San Antonio Currents 4:20 edition you’ll definitely get to see my cannabis butter recipe in there. And using this butter you can create a fantastic shrimp and linguine saute. Using just a little bit of olive oil saute some garlic, red chili flake and some onion until they’re nice and translucent add your shrimp and give them a nice little sear on both sides, splash a little white wine over the top to allow them to finish cooking. Now throw in your cook linguine, tossing everything together allowing the wine and shallots to coat the pasta once this has been done, Toss in about
a teaspoon of the cannabis butter, and about 2 table spoons of heavy cream. Now toss toss toss until all butter has melted. Simmer about 1 minute and enjoy. To really set it off take a little bit of decarboxylated cannabis and sprinkle over the top for an extra kick THR: Curios to know if you ever cook for charities?
EV: During my time as a chef, not just the kind of a chef but a regular chef I’ve cooked for many charities I’ve done a lot of charity work I was a big supporter of a non-profit chef organization here in town where we helped a lot of local vintinners ranchers and farmers who needed monetary assistance. We threw dinners we took a lot of the profit and gave it back to them in order for them to succeed in their business.
T H R : Wh at are s om e c om m on misconceptions about cooking with cannabis medicines?
EV: I believe one of the biggest misconceptions about cooking with cannabis is that it’s all about the psychoactive feeling which is not true at all. Cannabis is a medicine and relieves pain, it relieves anxiety, it carries antifungal and anti microbial properties. It allows people to live what they would consider to be a normal life versus a painful or a life that’s not comfortable for them due to underlined issues.
THR: Edward your story is empowering and tasty to hear. What advice do you have for lawmakers, foodies, doctors, and readers in general about your message and
what you have learned since you’ve been infusing foods these last 5 years?
EV: We need to again be looking at cannabis the way our forefathers looked at it, using it for much more than the psychoactive effect. There’s paper and clothing to come from the hemp there’s medicine to come from the flower there’s joy that comes from the entire
plant. I think alcohol is a much worse thing and it is absolutely legal. Which makes absolutely no sense cuz I believe that the effects from alcohol is 10 times as bad as that from Cannabis. If lawmakers can look at the short-term and long-term effect of alcohol, and still allow it to be legal. Then there should be no issues with making cannabis legal.
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I was recently handed a box of about 24 unlabeled products in bags and asked to review the quality and effectiveness of said products, which varied from topicals and oils to edibles. This wasn’t the first time I had been asked to judge something in the cannabis industry, in fact, I’ve participated as a judge in a handful of national competitions which, I’ll admit, have all respectively had their faults. Look, I’m not here to pick on this one example, it’s just the most recent one in a series of examples, but rather use it as a jumping-off point for what I would have loved to see happen instead, and encourage how we as an industry should be leaders instead of followers. For the record, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a standard manual on how to run an effective cannabis event. If you could see me now, I’m half smirking as I write this because I know (from interviewing hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs all over the world for my podcast, To Be Blunt) just how inconsistent the laws and regulations are in our industry in general, let alone the nuanced world of events. But as nuanced as it is, it is a massive opportunity for everyone involved. And it comes down to implementing best practices that put safety and education at the forefront. Prior to founding RESTART CBD in 2018, I used to work in corporate technology, but specifically, I was an event and brand manager for about 6 years. So I will also go out on a limb and say I know pretty well firsthand the benefit of events from both a brand perspective and also as a consumer who has attended hundreds of events in my lifetime. I’m not here to say don’t go to events or don’t waste your time participating in them, events are great for exposure and connecting directly with your target audiences. Instead, I want to reflect on how we as an industry can put our best foot forward and lead by example. If you check out the podcast, I encourage you to listen to episode 96 with Tim and Taylor Blake who are the founders and producers of
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The Emerald Cup, the largest cannabis competition in the world. THE WORLD. Yes, they’ve been producing this event since 2003, and a lot has changed since then which we get into more detail in the episode, but one of the questions I had for them was around the competition aspect of their event. On one end, the winners of The Emerald Cup go on to experience a huge uptick in their business. Winning this particular competition has bragging rights that go on into infinity, so from a brand marketing perspective, it absolutely benefits brands to compete because winning can do wonders for your business. On the other hand, you have the operations of the event to navigate. As an event producer, how are you capturing these entries, what do you ask for to gauge quality assurance, and what all goes into your judging process to guarantee you’re evaluating these brands properly? This was the big aha for me personally at least, while it’s all fun and games to do events and participate in competitions, at the end of the day, all these products, every single one of them are being sold to a consumer. How they’re packaged, how they’re labeled, what COAs are attached, and how they make someone feel are all pieces of determining the “quality and effectiveness”. They are consumer packaged goods after all, and that point is where I continually get hung up on from my own personal experiences with cannabis events and competitions. You see, I was taken aback at the unmarked products in blank bags. I understood the intention was for blind judging, but as someone who promotes frequently to my own customers to read labels, ingredients, and packaging, to be presented with absolutely none of that information didn’t settle well (and yes I did share this feedback directly, and ultimately decided not to participate until better parameters were set in place.) Aside from handling it directly, It was equally important to talk about it publicly since this isn’t about one person in particular, but about all of us as a community setting standards and standing by them. In an industry where 5mg vs 10mg of a particular cannabinoid can produce a different effect, it is extremely important for me to emphasize to the brands as well as consumers reading this that integrity and efficacy are absolutely essential in establishing credibility for our industry. In previous events I’ve judged, I remember being shocked to see products labeled with QR codes that 404’d, which as a legally licensed brand operating in Texas Hemp is a requirement to have functioning on your packaging. To me, what you put on your label is step one of building quality assurance with the consumer market, and yet here were brands, going after an award with basic information lacking. I genuinely felt and feel bad for consumers who are left in the dark by these brands and their products. Yes, there are certainly bad actors out to make a quick buck, and I always encourage the buyer to be aware. But I also sincerely believe that there are great Texas cannabis operators who believe in this plant and are looking for best practices, so I hope you hear the heart of my message. When we avoid or don’t address these discrepancies they continue to pile up, I want to address them so we can improve together. I want to see brands and events thrive, but I also want to remember who we’re in business for at the end of the day, and that is for the consumer. So how we show up, whether it is on a label, or at an event, really can improve the industry by providing necessary information for consumers to make educated decisions on what they are putting in their bodies. Listening to my episode with The Emerald Cup on To Be Blunt has a lot of great insight that we can all learn from as we work together to professionalize cannabis for consumer consumption.
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BENEFITS OF CBD OIL The benefits of cannabis continue to make questionable headings in the sector of health and medication. But with more doctors, scientists and consumers experiencing the many unusual advantages of CBD, oil particularly, it is likely an issue of time before it becomes a federally regulated component of your health options. What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD for short) is a normally happening cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. It is one of over one hundred cannabinoids determined in hemp plants. Nonetheless, unlike the complete marijuana plant, CBD does not consist of THC, which is responsible for the stoned/high feeling that the leisure medicine offers. Drawn out from the flowers and buds of the hemp plant, CBD is being pressed into oil and is increasingly preferred to treat, and also protect against, a wide array of health and wellness issues in states where medicinal cannabis has currently been legislated. CBD oil is stronger and more all-natural than a lot of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Because the Chinese first made use of cannabis for medical purposes in 2900 BC, many human beings have used its advantages, for a list of medical conditions.
CBD oil is widely regarded as a reliable product to treat and manage pain. The endocannabinoid system is a specialized system in the human body that assists in the law of sleep, appetite, the immune system and pain response. These naturally created endocannabinoids are natural chemicals that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body’s nerve system. CBD can assist to lower persistent pain by influencing this receptor activity, thus re-
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ducing inflammation and engaging with neurotransmitters. Presently, research is underway to determine the extent to which CBD can assist with conditions such as joint inflammation and multiple sclerosis.
The Alzheimer’s Organization estimates that by 2050, almost 14 million Americans will be identified with the illness and it will certainly cost the nation $1.1 trillion. A current short article released by MBG Health highlighted recent research right into CBD oil and its benefits for mind wellness, particularly to protect the brain from illness such as Alzheimer’s and mental deterioration, due to the fact that it can assist to prevent complimentary radical damages, minimize inflammation and not just to shield the cells in the mind however to help generate new ones. This
is likewise part of the reason that CBD is progressively preferred for people dealing with seizures. Research studies are still under way to determine whether CBD can profit those suffering with epilepsy and several sclerosis. Since CBD hosts solid anti-oxidant (more powerful than vitamins C and E), anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, it is commonly recognized as an all-natural method to promote brain health and overall wellness. Earlier this year, the FDA advisory panel unanimously authorized a CBD-based drug to treat two uncommon kinds of childhood epilepsy.
Heart Health and Blood Pressure
A New research study this year, released by the American Society for Clinical Investigation, has actually suggested that CBD may be an effective, all-natural treatment
Sleeplessness and Anxiety
to lower high blood pressure. One research study disclosed that making use of CBD oil reduced resting systolic blood pressure and stroke volume in subjects that were subjected to stress. Researchers concluded that the anxiety controling properties of CBD were responsible for the decrease in high blood pressure, which ultimately supported heart wellness. The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in CBD Aromablüten can also aid to prevent heart related ailments.
CBD oil has actually been safely used to treat anxiety, consisting of sleeplessness and PTSD. CBD has the capability to act upon the mind’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to control mood and social behavior. It resembles anti-depressants, only extra natural. You need to be careful to use just CBD oil to deal with any anxiety-related conditions, as any traces of THC can increase anxiety and have the opposite of the desired effect.
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There is increasing research study that supports the efficacy of CBD oil in treating some signs associated with cancer cells treatment, such as nausea or vomiting and pain. In a current research study, people who were undergoing chemotherapy used CBD oil and located it aided to decrease the side effects of chemo, specific sensations of nausea. Most of these people likewise reported that CBD helped minimize their their discomfort and pain.
Study recommends that CBD oil may be used to treat acne. This is due to its proven efficiency in dealing with inflammation and its capability to decrease the production of sebum and stop the activation of tiny produced proteins called cytokines. CBD-based products are turning up in numerous sexual health products and skin care products also, as they end up being an even more natural remedy to preserving healthy and balanced,
young-looking skin. Research is additionally underway for CBD’s effects on arthritis, allergic reactions and various other respiratory system ailments, and cancer avoidance, to name a few. The proven efficiency of CBD oil to treat inflammation comes primarily from animals now, nonetheless, as more scientific evidence recommends that CBD aids in the avoidance of inflammation-related diseases, this is coming to be a more extensively accepted view. The FDA has actually not yet taken steps to regulate the manufacturing of CBD-based products, and there is much research study to be done on safe communications between CBD and other medicines. Nevertheless, with more and more medical tests underway and an enhancing number of success stories reaching the masses, it is likely that CBD oil will certainly end up being a quicker available and a lot more widely accepted part of health care.
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Why Are Terpenes So Important In Cannabis?
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Our New Mexico Neighbor, insights from a Texan working in that legal market BY JESSE WILLIAMS
Jesse Williams asked Colt Demorris of EL Paso NORML a few questions about the recent changes in the New Mexico market. Colt has worked and managed several dispensaries in the state of New Mexico and has vast experience with their program. Jesse Williams: How difficult was it for dispensaries to be ready for day 1? Colt Demmorris: For legacy providers, not hard. For new entities, pretty tough depending on when your license was issued. The biggest issue was that there was no wholesale product on the market. For retail only licenses, that was a major issue. Producers didn’t have enough time to get a license and produce their first crop in time for April 1st. JW: What was the biggest issue for retailers on day 1? Was it shortages, the long lines, etc? CD: For the retailers that were licensed, the biggest issue was lines (long lines of people buying products). I had never heard of anyone running out the first week, or week of 4/20 before this year. JW: Do you happen to know the final number of first weekend sales for adult recreational cannabis? CD: If I am not mistaken, the first weekend was $5.2 million. JW: Which areas saw the largest sales? CD: Albuquerque had the highest numbers in sales. JW: How many Texans do you estimate are crossing into NM to purchase? CD: Good question. So right before recreational sales went live, I spoke with the Sunland
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Park Fire Chief and they were estimating about 10,000 cars a day to enter into Sunland Park, NM. No idea on the amount. I know the 2 dispensaries in SP were seeing 3 to 4 hour waits.
operators for a number of reasons, with one of the main ones being the way the program was rolled out. At one time, they had like 2 or 3 people working the whole Cannabis Control Division.
JW: Is there an idea yet on the percentage of sales coming from Texans buying in NM? CD: I don’t believe that number can be factored yet. For a number of reasons. All the new shops I have gone to, aren’t in compliance. A lot don’t enter your ID info, and some don’t have any computers. That right there is very off. All the inventory needs to be in a system tracked by the state. Can’t have that going for you if you have zero computers around.
JW: Are there any talks already to modify the NM program? CD: I haven’t heard any talks about modifying the program just yet. I know some rules were suspended so the program could kick off. Certain background checks and other things were waived for the start so licensing would go faster.
JW: How is the supply chain holding up for the NM cannabis industry now that the initial rush is over? CD: Right now the supply chain is depleted. What product is left on the wholesale market is subpar, and legacy providers that have been producing have subpar products too. JW: What are some shortcomings you see in the legalization system for NM as both a Texan and employee in the NM cannabis industry? CD: I think the biggest shortcoming with the NM legalization system has been that they pushed the start of the program too soon. They tried to develop rules & regs along with field applications for licensing while short staffed. The licensing process has been a nightmare for most
JW: What’s the best advice for Texas cannabis tourists going to NM? CD: Best advice for tourists. Be ready to pay taxes that will increase over the next few years. If you can, get into your state’s medical program so you can become a reciprocal patient in the NM program. That way you can avoid the taxes. If you plan on bringing product back to Texas, use smell proof bags such as skunk bags. Also, current products on the market are from legacy producers, ones that have been around since the med program. It will be a few months before we see products from newly licensed producers. I can tell you, the fire is coming. The author wants to remind readers that currently it is a federal offense to transport marijuana over state lines. We cannot advise you to transport your purchases of marijuana across state lines. Do so at your own risk.
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Hemp Flower Strains 2022 BY RACHEL NELSON
When it comes to finding your sweet spot with cannabidiol (CBD) flower, there are an overwhelming number of strains to sort through. So, how do you narrow it down? In this article, we’ve done the research for you — but you don’t have to take our word for it. We’ve scoured the web for commentary from CBD connoisseurs. Let’s get into it! 1. Hawaiian Haze This strain is like a tropical vacation in smoke form. If you’re in the market for a product that both soothes and uplifts, Hawaiian Haze is a great choice. It combines sweet, fruity hints of papaya, pineapple and passionfrut that are complemented by woody notes. Aesthetically, it is a deep pine green with vibrant, blood orange pistils.
“Stimulating; good for the morning to get going. I use it in a vaporizer personally. There’s nothing but good medicinal benefits. … The buds are great, the smell is wonderful and the price is affordable. It’s definitely worth a try.” — John C., organiccbdnugs.com 2. Sour Space Candy This flavor-packed strain is a cross between Sour Tsunami and Early Resin Berry. In addition to the uplifting and stress-relieving effects, the buds are sticky with gorgeous hues of purple, green and orange. Sour Space Candy’s enticing terpene profile includes a mix sour and fruity flavors with hints of lemon and pine.
“It tastes great and is a great price! It definitely helped me feel “lifted.” It relaxes me, but also helps me get more things done.” — Erin B., plainjane.com 3. Cherry Pie Cherry Pie is an indica-dominant hybrid. The dark green and red buds are dense and dank, emitting a cherry aroma that is both warm and tart. Its offers a flavor profile that is sweet, fruity and smooth. It is said to offer a relaxing effect for the mind and muscles.
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“This strain here is an “oh my” strain. Smooth taste with awesome aroma. If you need rest or just a mellow out moment, this is for you.” — Jermaine P., mrhempflower.com 4. Special Sauce Special Sauce is a bright green and orange variety that has been praised by nighttime users for its calming effects. With more than 20 terpenes, it boasts a mysterious aromatic profile that combines sweet and earthy notes. When smoked, Special Sauce boasts a savory taste and a smooth finish.
“Good chill strain. Relaxing, body buzz. Good evening bud.” — Dmesh, sunsetlakecbd.com 5. Lifter Plus When you open a jar, you’ll notice a light green and purple buds that contain a diverse aromatic profile that is both fruity and floral. When smoked, it offers a mild and smooth taste. Lifter Plus — a cross between Suver Haze #50 and Early Resin Bud — is said to relieve pain and stress while uplifting the user’s mood.
“This goes great with my morning coffee. My absolute fave for chronic pain. I prefer this one for the morning. It loosens my joints, feel like the Tinman from Wizard of Oz after oiled.” — Margaret C., mrhempflower.com
6. Elektra The Elektra strain is fruity and festive, and is long, dense buds have a Christmas tree look. A hybrid of ACDC and Early Resin Berry, expect potent fragrances of citrus and berries that taste like lavender and ginger when smoked. Elektra will realx both your mind and body.
“This ended up being my goto for daytime, and it electrified me with energy, got me up and going; skipped the coffee.” — Jennifer C., cannaflower.com 7. Cherry Crème Brûlée Cherry Creme Brulee — a hybrid of Berry Blossom and Dream Tonic — features heavenly hints of cream and honey, as its creamy and fruity notes synergize with diesel undertones. It’s a sativa dominant strain, so it’s great for daytime use. The long buds are covered in crystallized trichomes that give it a frosted appearance.
“I found crème brûlée to be one of the smoothest smokes. Exhaling provides creamy and sour notes. The effects are definitely more uplifting with absolutely no couch lock. There is also some calmness that immediately follows using it. One of my favorite strains to relax during the day!” — Adam, holycitfarms.com
8. Harlequin Harlequin is known for its visually stunning looks and stress-busting effects. A sticky, bright green bud covered with orange hairs, it’s a hybrid of Columbian Gold, Thai + Swiss Sativa landrace strains and Nepali Indica landrace strains. The smell is a combination of pine, gas, orange and floral. Users will experience a sweet taste consisting of orange-citrus undertones.
“It’s got the bag and smell appeal and puts you in a good place, uplifted and relaxed, and great for morning and day use.” — Marche, blacktiecbd.net
Forty Six and Two
Apothecary + Boutique INTERVIEW RUSSELL DOWDEN
Texas Hemp Reporter: Welcome to the magazine guys... tell us about your boutique there in Taylor TX. Jenn: When we were looking for a location, we wanted to be in a place where we could have a shop that appealed to everyone. We knew we wanted something different than the typical vape or smoke shop and we wanted it to be original and fun too. Taylor offers so much with the growth happening all around and such an eclectic group of people here we felt it was perfect. We found a charming spot in the Historic Downtown area where we can be in the heart of city events and near all of
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the foot traffic from locals and tourists. Our shop is very unique in the fact that in addition to our hemp apothecary, we have the rest of the shop dedicated to be a boutique with fun clothing, accessories, and gifts. We always want to make sure that we are inviting to everyone, we have found that CBD and hemp are now a daily part of the lives of so many as they are looking for alternatives to the norm for all kinds of things. We have those who come in for the boutique and then see the
hemp and get excited that there is now a local place for them to shop those items too. In our apothecary we offer a wide variety of products such as gummies, chocolates, tinctures, pre-rolls, salves, roll ons, cartridges, flower, moon rocks, dab, and more. Our gummies range in strength from 20mg up to 250mg and we offer them in D8, D9, HHC, THC-O, and CBD. We also offer our cartridges in D8, THC-O and HHC as well as pre-rolls in D8 or HHC. Our boutique carries items that are fun and stylish, yet affordable. We know how hard it’s been the last 2 years for people, so we want to do our best to keep our prices down for our customers and make a difference at the same time and that goes for both hemp and boutique items in the store. Texas Hemp Reporter: How has the retail experience improved in the CBD space in recent years? 46&2: The opportunities that are presented today are a vast improvement over the past. We can now have marketing partners such as google and yelp as well as ship to most states and deliver via DoorDash & Postmates/Uber. It’s incredible to be able to utilize services like that to deliver our products to customers who are at a distance or have a disability that makes it tough to make it down to our physical store. The merchant fees and POS systems are great and easy to use. It also makes our customers feel more comfortable swiping their cards on systems that they’re familiar with, it gives a sense of comfortability. It’s amazing to me how mainstream CBD/Hemp Derived Products are becoming and all the uses and benefits of hemp that people are opening up to exploring for themselves and others. Since we are limited on discussing the benefits of CBD and hemp use, with the vast amount of information online these days, our customers have the ability to do a lot of their own research and are becoming more savvy on knowing what they want when they come in.
Dano: I’ve been in (and out) the industry since ‘94 and have seen it change exponentially. In ‘94 I was a grower in Humboldt County on the Mendocino/ Humboldt County border and things were so different back then. We opened our first dispensary in ‘97 and it was a completely different industry, it was tight knit and very secretive. Nowadays it’s a big legal business and it’s becoming normal to hear about people using hemp derived products on the regular from the young to the aging. I love where the industry is going, the changes in optics and opinion are driving the transformation. Texas Hemp Reporter: Dano and Jenn can you tell us what are some of the biggest sellers there in your store? 46&2: Our in-house gummies for sure. We have our gummies made to order by a confectioner that we’ve known and trust their processes and quality control/ quality assurances. Our gummies outsell everything else 2-1. We ship our gummies across the country, people love the quality, taste and effects of the different cannabinoids & strengths. After our gummies we’d say it’s a tossup on the next best sellers. Tinctures, Cartridges & PreRolls are pretty much the same as far as popularity. We have complete oversight of our 46&2 products from seed to sale. We work with growers, processors and confectioners that we’ve been working with for decades on other ventures in other states. We do carry a few select brands in our store. These brands
are fully vetted to deliver the same quality we have in our 46&2 branded products. Texas Hemp Reporter: Tell us how you came up with the name. Are you fans of Carl Jung? 46&2: Yes, his theory about how the next evolution in humans would be 46 autosomes plus 2 chromosomes resonates well with the way we want to be…basically always striving to be the best version of yourself. We also have one of his quotes on the wall “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” Texas Hemp Reporter: I see you have these groovy dried mango slices...can you tell us about this new item? 46&2: We are the only place in Texas right now that has these amazing mango slices…we had them made by one of our awesome manufacturers and they are great! All natural for the health conscious folks, they are infused with D8 and pack a punch! Texas Hemp Reporter: Talk about the theme of the boutique. 46&2: We feel our theme is somewhat vintage…in the shop we have utilized mostly antique or upcycled display cases and items. We picked barn wood and rusty tin from an actual old barn to put up on our back wall, along with old vintage apothecary signs and decor. Our building was built in 1913 and has really cool history and metal ceiling tiles to keep with the historic look. We feel that it’s very charming and inviting to all who come in.
Texas Hemp Reporter: Your gummies are really good and like 50mg. Why are these so huge and tasty? 46&2: Because our manufacturers are great! We asked them for something that people will enjoy, that tastes great, and also brings the strength and effects that our customers are looking for. Texas Hemp Reporter: How has the community there in Taylor responded to your charming store and the CBD sales? 46&2: Everyone here has been amazing, we have been welcomed with open arms in the community. We are here each day at the shop getting to know them, talking
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Forty Six & Two Apothecary & Boutique
313 N Main St, Taylor, TX 76574 737-327-9383 Jenn Griffith Dano Leman Page 24 • www.TexasHempReporter.com
DISABLED VETERAN & FORMER Texas hemp farmer strives to raise funds to aid in ongoing legal battle BY RACHEL NELSON
For nearly a year, Hunter Robinson has had felony drug charges looming over him after he says he grew hemp legally in Navarro County.
t’s been quite rough on my family, myself, everything. You name it — it’s impacted me. It’s been terrible,” he said. Robinson, a 27-year-old disabled U.S. Navy veteran who said he greatly benefitted from using CBD products, received a hemp producer license from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) in 2021. He and his business partner, 28-yearold Skyler Purcell, said compliance was at the top of their priority list when they launched Sky & Hobbs Organics, LLC with the intention of producing CBD flower and oil. “We spent hours upon hours going through every single genetic variety that was on the TDA’s approved variety list,” Robinson said. Rather than selecting the coolest-looking varieties or strands with the catchiest names, the pair said they picked the lowest testing varieties they could get their hands on. Each time the TDA tested samples of Sky & Hobbs’ products, they passed all criteria. “All of our product had already been tested previously and deemed by the state of Texas and Texas Department of Agriculture as approved, compliant hemp.” Purcell said. Purcell, who was a 50% co-owner of the business, was never charged with a crime. “They were trying to produce the best legal quality product they could find, and
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Hunter Robinson ran his hemp business legally and still had his product confiscated by the police. courtesy of Sky & Hobbs Organics
they took extraordinary steps to do that,” defense attorney David Sergi said. Robinson and Purcell said they were stunned when their indoor growing facility was raided on June 10, 2021, by the Navarro County Sherriff ’s Department, which had a search warrant signed by Navarro County District Judge James E. Lagomarsino. When nobody answered the door, officers used forced entry and seized three product varieties.
Robinson and Purcell said they provided the officers on scene with documentation that proved they were operating a legal business, but that didn’t stop them. For more than two months, the property remained an active crime scene that Robinson and Purcell were not allowed to access. Law enforcement officers returned to Sky & Hobbs Organics on Aug. 25 with an arrest warrant for Robinson — also signed by Judge Lagomarsino — that alleged he knowingly and intentionally possessed “a usable quantity of marijuana against the peace and dignity of the state.” According to the sheriff ’s office, two of the company’s samples contained 0.378% and 0.468% of delta-9 THC by dry weight, which is over the legal limit of .3%. Robinson was arrested and charged with posession of marijuana. He spent 30 hours in jail before bonding out. Felony charges are still pending against him, but the Navarro County Sherriff ’s Department has not yet shared its evidence with Robinson’s legal counsel. A court date is set for June 6. “We need to look at the actual testing to see what was tested, how it was tested and what the lab did,” Sergi said, adding that the law has a provision that allows for natural variations in THC levels. The Texas Hemp Program was launched after the U.S. Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of cannabis in 2018. According to the law, if the THC level falls above 0.3% but below 1%, the crop must be destroyed. If a product tests for higher than 1% THC
levels, the grower can be cited with negligence by the TDA. If the TDA determines that a grower deliberately produced a crop with 1% of THC or higher, they can face criminal charges. “From our point of view, the product was within legal limits and all the testing showed that it was under .3% Delta-9 THC, and at worst there is a reason why there is a negligence factor built into the code, and this is exactly where this falls in,” Sergi said.
The legal battle ahead Currently, Purcell and Robinson are asking for the public’s help to raise funds for their ongoing legal costs. Those who want to contribute can visit texashempfederation.com and click on the “Donate” button on the home page. According to Jay Maguire, executive director of the Texas Hemp Federation, everything the organization raises will support this cause until their goal is met. “We just want everyone involved in this industry to understand what’s taking place is possible, and if they see this as a problem, hopefully they would feel how we’re feeling and contribute,” Robinson said. People can also help by sharing the story to raise awareness about the fact that — while hemp farming is legal in Texas with the proper licensure — there is an apparent disconnect when it comes to educating jurisdictions about hemp farming laws. “The Sky and Hobbs case also points to a deficiency in Texas regulations about how to even out, or remediate a crop, which can vary in THC levels from plant to plant,” Maguire said. “It’s a bit like blending different varietals of wine.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, remediation can be achieved by separating and destroying non-compliant flowers while retaining stalks, leaves, and seeds, or by shredding the entire hemp plant to create a homogenous biomass that can be retested for THC compliance. So, even if one batch is a bit over the limit, by mixing it in with lower-THC, compliant biomass, the resulting batch would fall at or below the legal limit. “My understanding is police here simply took samples from plants that weren’t even in the stream of commerce yet, and which could have been remediated or destroyed
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Skyler Purcell had all the correct licensing for his hemp business, but police still harrassed the company and seized product. Nathan Hunsinger
according to the current regulations,” Maguire said. Also questionable, Purcell said, is the fact that the Navarro County Sherriff ’s Office never filed an administrative report about the incident with the TDA as protocol states. “Before there’s any accountability you have to go through the steps,” Sergi said.
Packaging and hemp product sold by Sky and Hobbs Organics courtesy of Sky & Hobbs Organics
As childhood friends, Robinson and Purcell dreamed of one day starting a business venture together. “We wanted to do the right business at the right time and take advantage of a situation,” Robinson said. “We realized that cannabis was coming sooner rather than later and that hemp was the starting point. Robinson and Purcell invested $75,000$100,000 into Sky & Hobbs Organics and continued working full-time jobs while pouring a majority of their spare time into the business. “We wanted to be able to say we were producing the cleanest, the best legal product that Texas had to offer. Every dollar we got went back into our business. In our five-year plan, me and Sky weren’t going to be taking any money for a long time,” Robinson said. Now, rather than building a lucrative revenue stream, Robinson and Purcell are scrambling to get back on track financially. “We had to close our business, our business account, our website,” Robinson said. “We’ve relaunched our website and we’re actually going to start doing stickers and see if people are willing to do a $5 donation for a sticker.” In the meantime, Robinson said he worries about what the future might hold, as a felony conviction would interfere with his job as a mechanical engineer. He also relocated to be closer to his wife’s family so she and the children will have support in case anything happens to him. In addition to anxiety about the future, both men say they are devastated about what’s already been lost. “We put everything into this — life savings. I’ll never get that time back. We were doing it with something in mind. We wanted to build something for our families, and it’s a shame that there are no protections for us. I have contacted the TDA. There’s no one to help us.” Robinson and Purcell both say they were robbed of a chance at the American dream. “And not only that, I got taken to jail for following the American dream,” Robinson said. “I loved doing what we were doing, but the only way I would ever participate in this industry again is if I knew that the state or the feds would protect the people participating in this legally.”
TEXAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM RULES UNDER REVIEW
BY ANDREA STEEL & HANNAH JOHANNES
The Department of Public Safety (DPS), which is the state agency that oversees the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP), is reviewing the rules to determine if they are obsolete, reflect current legal and policy considerations, and reflect current procedures of the department. The public had its first formal opportunity to provide proposed comments and changes to the TCUP rule during an open comment period which closed May 2, 2022. Once DPS completes its review and considers comments received, any substantial changes proposed will be published for additional review and comment in the future. Though the rules are under review, DPS has stated there are no current plans to open the dispensing organization licensing application process. TCUP was established by Texas lawmakers in 2015 specifically to help those suffering from intractable epilepsy. At that time, the program was incredibly restrictive, capping THC concentration at 0.5% and requiring two physician recommendations. It has since expanded twice, most recently in 2021,1 and now includes nine qualifying conditions and an increased THC cap of 1%. There are currently two licensed dispensing organizations operating in Texas,2 though the number of registered patients and physicians continues to grow significantly.3 Currently, each of these licensees “does it all” – each licensee cultivates, processes, manufactures, tests and dispenses in-house, medicinal cannabis products. This concept is known as “vertical integration” in the industry. Medicinal cannabis is provided to patients throughout Texas via delivery and
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drop-off locations around the state. Interestingly, however, there is no specific law that requires vertical integration in Texas, discussed more below in item 1, which is likely to have received several comments. The Texas Compassionate-Use Act under the Texas Health and Safety Code and the Texas Occupations Code are the laws which govern TCUP, while rules are established by DPS. The laws are passed by the Texas legislature, which meets every two years. The laws governing TCUP are broad in nature without many details, but there are certain pieces of TCUP mandated by statute and not subject to this current rule review. Requirements such as the 1% THC cap, the listed qualifying conditions (epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, cancer, incurable neurode-
generative diseases,4 or PTSD), and the ban on medical cannabis for smoking are all prescribed by law and not subject to change via rule review. The rules are outlined in Chapter 12, Part 1, Title 37 of the Texas Administrative Code, which can be access online at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/tac/index.shtml. As required by law, DPS must review its rules as currently written every four years, and this review must include an assessment of whether the reasons for initially adopting the rule continue to exist. As part of the review process, the public was invited to submit commentary on the rules. Stakeholder participation in this process is important and we encourage paying attention to when these opportunities arise and submitting comments on any of the rules relevant to their interests. There are a number of rules under review, some of which are highlighted below, which impact physicians, patients, licensees and ancillary businesses.
1. Subchapter A (General Provisions) This subchapter sets out certain definitions, requirements and standards, criminal history disqualifiers, and record keeping requirements. It also includes rules related to testing, production, packaging, inventory control, sanitation, and waste disposal. As discussed above, the idea that Texas is a vertical integration state is not
specifically required by law, nor does the law necessarily prohibit multiple licensing categories. While unlikely to change at this juncture, if DPS received significant public comment that it could and should allow for licenses in various categories (such as cultivation, processing/manufacturing, dispensing, testing, transportation, and/or waste, for example), that might compel some sort of reconsideration of this concept, even if at a later date.
2. Subchapter B (Application and Renewal) This subchapter sets out the rules relating to the application to become a licensed dispensing organization, registrations, renewals, fees, and application denials. For those interested in applying to become a TCUP licensed dispensing organization, understanding the requirements in this subchapter is critical. The TCUP rules require certain threshold items be included in an application (such as proof of company existence and good standing, names, criminal histories and registration applications of all key staff and owners, and proof of adequate insurance). The rules also require certain site-specific requirements once those threshold items are met, including ownership information, maps, and floor plans, but the application itself requires these items be included. This effectively means it is not feasible to submit an application without one or more sites in mind and significant headway made to acquire such property at the time of application, even though the rules indicate there is a concept of a conditional approval whereby an applicant can then have the opportunity to invest in site control. This creates an enormous barrier to entry that may not be reasonable for smaller businesses to achieve, and the rules themselves conflict with the application and scoring process. Hopefully DPS will provide clarification in future rule changes. Texas also has some of the highest medical cannabis licensing fees in the country. Under Section 12.14, an application fee for a dispensing organization license is $7,356 and the license fee is $488,520 for a two-year period. Upon the expira-
as agencies that incorporate HUB goals into their regulations and DPS could choose to follow suit.5
3. Subchapter C (Compliance and Enforcement)
tion of the two-year period, dispensing organizations have to pay a $318,511 renewal fee. In addition, there is a $530 fee for both original and renewal license registration. As currently set, the fees to hold a license are over half a million dollars, which inevitably minimizes opportunities for dispensing organizations, especially small startup companies, effectively creating a market available only to well-capitalized companies (essentially multi-state operators). Additionally, fees this high get passed down and built into product pricing, which ends up with medicine being cost prohibitive, especially for those that may be on limited fixed incomes such as social security or veteran benefits. Hence, the “compassionate” piece leaves much to be desired when products are too expensive for those who need it most. A decrease in fees could spur an increase in access and allow the program to function more widely in accordance with legislative intent to serve the needs of qualified patients. Since fees are set by rule and not statutory, we may see changes in the next rule iteration that DPS publishes. At least one comment submission included the notion of incorporating a setaside or bonus points for, and/or contracting requirements with, Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). A HUB is a for-profit business (which does not exceed certain federally mandated caps on gross profits or total employees) primarily based in Texas with majority ownership by a person who is: Asian Pacific American, Black American, Hispanic American, Native American, American woman, and/or Service-Disabled Veteran with a service-related disability of at least 20%. The owner of the HUB must be a U.S. Citizen that has at least one year of Texas residency and control over the daily operations of the business. There are countless Tex-
This subchapter sets out rules relating to inspections, license and registration suspension and revocations, default judgments and hearing costs all relating to complying with the rules and the state’s authority to enforce them.
4. Subchapter D (Security) This subchapter details rules relating to security of facilities and vehicles, as well as responses in the event of a security breach and reporting requirements relating to inventory discrepancy, loss and theft. As a law enforcement agency, DPS regulates the TCUP program from the lens of a criminal justice agency (as opposed to a healthcare agency operating from a patient access and care perspective), so some of these security measures might be overkill.
5. Subchapter E (CompassionateUse Registry) This section of the rules is geared towards healthcare security measures such as access to the Compassionate-Use Registry, patient prescription verifications, prescriber registrations and prescription requirements.
6. Subchapter F (Special Conditions for Military Service Members and Spouses) This portion of the rules sets forth certain penalty exemptions and license renewal extensions, as well as alternative licensing for service members, veterans and spouses, in addition to certain credits for military experience and training. While this section may seem odd, Texas law requires all state agencies with authority to issue licenses to adopt rules of this sort for military service members on active duty and their spouses, as well as veterans.
7. Subchapter G (Production Limits) This subchapter lays out clear limitations with respect to the amount of medical cannabis permitted under TCUP,
tying such limitations to the “legislative intent to serve a narrow population of patients living with intractable epilepsy.” Such legislative intent no longer exists because lawmakers have twice expanded the list of qualifying conditions the program serves since these rules were adopted, including the 2019 removal of “intractable” forms of epilepsy, allowing all forms of epilepsy to qualify, as well as adding several additional qualifying conditions. This entire subchapter is essentially inapplicable under the current law and is likely to undergo significant changes once DPS completes its initial review.
Post Comment Period While significant rule changes may not be on the immediate horizon, it is important lawmakers and regulators have a written record of public response to TCUP and the needs of patients, physicians, license applicants and licensees. We can anticipate comments received will be summarized and responded to
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publicly by DPS, which could result in proposed changes to the current rules. The opportunity to submit comments does not come around often and is critical for effecting change through transparent, public processes and grassroots advocacy. 1
Steel, Andrea. “Dear 87th Legislative Session (Cannabis Law): What Happened Y’all?” Texas Hemp Reporter, vol. 2, issue no. 7, July/August 2021, pp. 56-58. Retrieved from https:// issuu.com/texashempreporter/docs/july/56. 2 The two operating licensees are Surterra Texas LLC (d/b/a goodblend) (https://tx.goodblend.com/) and Compassionate Cultivation (https://texasoriginal.com/). A third organization – Fluent (formerly Cansortium Texas) (https://texas.getfluent.com/) – holds a license, but does not actively operate within Texas. 3 Annual reports, including year-to-date statistics of patient counts, physician counts and prescription amounts are maintained by DPS and are available at https://www.dps.texas.
gov/section/compassionate-use-program/reports-statistics. 4 An incurable neurodegenerative disease is a condition, injury, or illness: (1) that occurs when nerve cells in the brain or peripheral nervous system lose function over time; and (2) for which there is no known cure. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) maintains a list of dozens of conditions that qualify as incurable neurodegenerative diseases, which are proscribed by rule and can be added to upon approval by DSHS. That list can be found in Title 25 of the Texas Administrative Code, Part 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter D, Rule § 1.61, available online at https://texreg.sos.state. tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=25&pt=1&ch=1&rl=61. 5 For example, the highly competitive low-income housing tax credit allocations awarded through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Development gives points for applicants that incorporate a HUB in the ownership structure and requires the HUB to have a specified combination of ownership interest, cash flow and fees.
California-based record label Ripple Music is known for promoting retro 70’s heavy rock, stoner, heavy psych, sludge and doom bands. Texas got a full dose of it’s glory hosting one of their famous worldwide marquee events – Ripplefest – in 2021 and is returning to Austin this July for a four-day string of heavy riffs at Far Out Lounge. THR met with Ryan Garney of Lick of My Spoon Productions – the show’s promoter and organizer, as well as frontman of Texas Desert Rock band High Desert Queen to get the scoop on this year’s festival. Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us, especially on the heels of your own European tour which sums up right before Ripplefest. Tell us about the origin of this festival on Texas soil and your involvement with it.
First of all thank you so much for having me. RippleFest Texas was spawned when my band High Desert Queen was signed to Ripple Music in early 2020. I talked to Todd Severin (CEO of Ripple) about the possibility of doing a show with all Ripple bands to showcase the bands he had signed from Texas. He gave me the full endorsement to do so, and also mentioned that every “RippleFest” that had every happened across the globe was always put together by the bands themselves. So I got to work and it quickly grew from a show with a few bands, to a show with 15 great Ripple bands in just the first year (July 2021). This year we decided to go all in, and are bringing bands across all kinds of labels from all over the world. One of the things I love about Todd and all the people at Ripple, is that they are all about the scene and don’t care about only having bands from their label. This festival is 100% all about the love of music and people getting together. We know it’s not about making money which is why our 4 day passes are the cheapest you’ll find for a music festival of this size. It’s all about getting the people together to enjoy these incredible bands, and growing our “musical family.” This year brings 4 days of music to the stages of Far Out Lounge. What all can concert goers expect and how did you go about choosing the lineup?
I”m EXTREMELY proud of the lineup we’ve put together. I brought my brother Shay on board this year to help me organize it and we’ve hand selected each band that’s playing. Many of these bands are some of our favorites and that we’ve never seen in the same lineup before. We go to music fes-
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tivals all the time and we sat down and made lists of all the things we love about festivals and what don’t we love. One of our biggest complaints about large festivals is having to make a decision which bands you’re going to see and which ones you’re going to miss because their sets overlap or they are at a different venue. We made sure to find a venue that could be large enough to host all the bands and allow us to have absolutely zero band overlapping so that people who buy a ticket, will actually have an opportunity to see every minute of every band. Then we came up with a list of all the bands we would love to see at a music festival, and be sure to include bands that people need to see and don’t get an opportunity to. We didn’t get every band we wanted, but every band we got we are thrilled to have. Then we wanted it to look a certain way so we’ve hired the best stage lighting company in the business in The Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show. Lance is an absolute artist and he will be lighting up the entire grounds to make it a unique visual experience as well. We also wanted a festival that would have art, food, vendors, games and all the things we love about some of the
music festivals we’ve gone to. There will be plenty of all of that, and we actually still have room for more sponsors and vendors that we’d love to add to help enhance the experience of RippleFest. How would you best describe the music that Ripple supports and the culture surrounding the genre? Are all of the bands on the bill signed to the label?
Ripple supports ALL music! Now as far as the bands they sign, they typically sign Heavy Rock, Psych Rock and Metal. We have all of all of that and more. We’ve got everything from the Desert Rock sounds of Fatso Jetson, to the punishing metal of Crowbar and Spirit Adrift, to Stoner rock legends Eagles of Death Metal and The Sword, and even some banjo fingerpicking by JD Pinkus of Butthole Surfers and Melvins fame. We also have some acoustic sets from Wino and Nick Oliveri. There are jam sessions planned and even an improvised music and puppet show from desert legend Sean Wheeler and his super group of musicians called Dryheat. So we plan on having all kinds of variety as well as one of kind performances that may never happen again. RippleFest Texas has 55 artists performing and about half of them are on the Ripple Music label. The rest are all family and there to share their love with us. What is the background of Lick of My Spoon productions and what all does it do for the local music scene?
LOMS came about during the lockdown in 2020 when artists and musicians were really feeling the pain of not being able to share their creativity at a live show. I became very proactive at organizing events even when the world was
closed because I knew that the world would open again and people would need to see live music right away. I’ve never had any interest in making money with it and it’s all about the bands and the venues that I can help. Being in a band myself I understand the struggles of getting your music heard and being compensated for your art, so we try and take care of the artist first and foremost. The rest will hopefully take care of itself. There will be no shortage of pre-parties for Ripplefest – where should we look out for those?
We have just started announcing some shows in surrounding cities like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio that are official RippleFest Texas sponsored events with artists that will be at the fest. As it gets closer to the festival you can anticipate others to be announced, as well as some parties around the weekend of the festival.
Where can everyone follow updates and information on the festival?
The best way to stay updated is to follow RippleFest Texas on Instagram and Facebook. Also www.lickofmyspoon.com will have information about the festival and showcases going on around the event. Plus the venue The Far Out Lounge does an amazing job themselves of sending out information or answering any questions anyone has. We really hope to see everyone there! If we can make this a success we will hope to keep making it bigger and bigger every year! Thanks again for having me and much love goes out to everyone who supports live music and the art these incredible musicians make. Cheers!
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Meet The Dread Head Chef
Michael Weinstein is tapping into hemp’s healing power by crafting savory CBD-infused concoctions
BY RACHEL NELSON
After spending more than a quarter-century as a chef in the Dallas area, Michael Weinstein is making a name for himself as an award-winning hemp chef. “When my dog got diagnosed with arthritis in both of his back legs, I infused (CBD) into some oil for my dog,” he said. “I started noticing a difference in him getting up and down and thought, ‘Maybe I could use my food knowledge in other ways.’” His belief in the healing power of CBD was strengthened after his mother used a topical on her back. “The first time she put it on, the pain subsided on her back,” he said. “Stuff like that makes you go, ‘Hmmm … maybe there is something going on with this.’” Weinstein said he attended several Cannabis Cup events, and when Texas legalized hemp in 2019, he decided to monetize his knowledge of hemp-infused cuisine. Currently, his product line includes a variety of dessert salsas and caramels, as well as an edible intimacy serum that he said helps to ease menstrual cramps.
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“I didn’t want to make gummies because they’re too trendy. I personally don’t even like gummies,” he said. Weinstein uses a commercial kitchen to create all of his products and gets them third-party tested. He said takes pride in the quality and cleanliness of his concoctions, as they do not contain preservatives, food coloring or high fructose corn syrup. “You can read the ingredients without using a dictionary,” he said. “High fructose corn syrup has led to the obesity of America because it’s a cheap sweetener. Why not use real sweeteners like sugar and honey?” Currently, Weinstein is educating people at cooking classes, where he teaches attendees how to make specialty items — like CBD-infused deviled eggs.
“What I’m trying to teach people is if they want to go to the shows and buy flower, and they don’t want to smoke it, how can they infuse it and turn it into a food product? I try to keep it pretty simple and not over-complicated, as we chefs can get complicated with some of the recipes we make. I’m trying to gear (the classes) for the home cook.” As far as upcoming products, Weinstein didn’t want to give too much away about what’s in the pipeline, but he offered a few hints. “It’s kind of like a cracker or vanilla wafer, and it’s savory as far as texture. But there’s also cheese involved,” he said. Keep checking rebeldreadscorp.shop for updates.
WHERE THE HEMP INDUSTRY DOES BUSINESS!
AUG 18-20, 2022 Sponsorship & Exhibitor Registration Open Tickets On Sale Now! #SHE2022 #SHE4
For hardcore plant lovers: a unique South Austin pop up BY STACEY LOVETT
Texas Hemp Reporter met with Melinda Fore – owner and founder of Leaf Porn to learn a bit more behind her business. You have built a creatively risqué spin on a plant nursery with Leaf Porn – how did this concept come about?
I have always been a bit unconventional and gone against the grain in general. I seem to gravitate toward finding creative, crafty new ways to do things. Back in 2020 I was growing my rare plants collection and selling a few things every now and again to support a pretty hefty plant addiction, as many people can relate, lol. Around that time I saw a post in a facebook plant group asking people to share photos of some “root porn”. I heard a few variations on this phrase soon after this throughout the plant community and really got a kick out of it. One night we were trying to choose a name for the business and in a momentary stroke of genius I just blurted out “Leaf Porn” and my husband and I immediately knew that it was a keeper! Once we decided on that name it was really fun to find quirky little ways to incorporate the seemingly risque into the fold. Melinda – you’re the fearless leader of this brand and just recently closed your home base shop at Fentonridge Drive to relocate to Far Out Lounge in South Austin with your vintage trailer. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion behind plants
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and how you put down roots in your new home.
I had always had a passion for houseplants and gardening. One of my grandmother’s maintained a nice collection of houseplants which always fascinated me and I recall her teaching me about propagation and just being mesmerized by the miracle of it all. My Grandma and Grandpa on the other side of the family always had a vegetable garden that I was able to assist with and harvest things for the large communal extended family meal that we had every night. I am originally from New Jersey and transplanted here from my long-time home in Philadelphia about 8 years ago. I am a classically trained musician specializing in voice, piano, and choral singing and had the honor to work with some of the most amazing world renowned orchestras and conductors over many years in the Tri-State area. I came to Austin for some sunshine and to turn over a new leaf and that I did quite literally, haha. It was here I met my amazing husband Nicholas Hargrove, the hard working back-bone of Leaf Porn. Without him none of this would have manifested as he balances our relationship
by helping spring my ideas into action. He does the heavy lifting both physically and with other aspects of the business too. Believe it or not, he is the personable one, not me! It is his social aptitude and ease of forming relationships that crafted many of the opportunities that we have had, including with the Far Out Lounge. We had done a couple events there with our friend Tiki and her Far Out Vintage Mall and Nick just saw the potential and made it happen. It worked out better than we could have imagined! It is the perfect spot for our vintage plant shop trailer and there truly is nothing else quite like it, anywhere. I would love to also give a shout out to Zoe Perez who works side by side with us at home, at farmer’s markets and events, but most importantly the beautiful work she does with photography and our social media. Many of the photos you see were expertly done by her, and she has a special knack for making everything we do on social media fit with our unique little 1970’s porno plant vibe! You travel to quite a few other pop-up events in the Austin area as well – where all can you be found?
ATX, our original plant guru and partner in starting the Plant Plug Pop-up) What types of plants do you typically carry anything rare or specialty items? Are there any that would be your centerfold choice?
Well as you know we have recently moved and our main location is now inside our cute vintage trailer at The Far Out Lounge and Stage. We also can be found at our staple Farmer’s markets like Barton Creek Farmer’s Market at the mall, Lone Star Farmer’s Market at the Galleria and Buda Farmer’s Market at City Park. You can find us at a host of other markets and events like Greune Market Days, Cedar Park Market Days, Wimberley Market Days and many many more special little pop-ups. We post our schedule and drop planties every Thursday on our social media. Is this a full-time gig for you or do you have other passions or projects going alongside Leaf Porn?
Yes this is absolutely a full-time gig for both me and my husband. It didn’t start out that way, but it certainly ended up that way very quickly! The amount of work is incredible and it is both mental and physical. People don’t realize the amount of labor that goes into having your own business and for us even more so because as you know, plants can be divas sometimes and demand attention. I do have other passions including singing in choir and teaching voice and piano. I am a Reiki Master and Tarot card reader as well. I have put these other passions on hold temporarily until we have the staff to take over some of my duties. I hope within the year to
create a better work/life balance and to make more time for these things that help fulfill my life and to see family and friends. Incorporating phallic watering cans and busty planters, you definitely can’t help but attract a fun clientele. What is your customer base like and do you have any humorous/favorite stories from your time as Leaf Porn?
We love it and absolutely have a fun clientele! We appreciate them so much as everyone around here seems to really have a place in their heart for wanting to help support small mom and pop run businesses. Sounds silly, but something like a boobie planter can sometimes just make someone giggle and loosen up a bit. The plants themselves are mystical and magical and can change the vibe for the better, and our little twist on it seems to just make people enjoy themselves. We have some humorous stories for sure! Of course children always make a bee-line straight for the nudie planters which is always hilarious. Then we have the spikey Cylindrical Sansevieria plant that we use as an “unwanted dude barrier” to ensure personal space (and it absolutely works, lol). And of course, my personal favorite is Nick running around dancing in a Sunflower costume at our Plant Plug Pop-up flagging cars in from Westgate Blvd. (Shout out to our dear friend Kelle with Exotic Roots
We carry houseplants, tropicals, and succulents and we seek out the more uncommon, less-seen varieties when possible. People seem to notice that we have options that you just wouldn’t see at your typical nursery. We do also sometimes carry slightly more uncommon plants...we save those up for special online purges and all-plant markets a few times a year. I encourage people to message me if they are looking for something special because we just might have it, or I may be able to track it down from one of our local plant peeps that we work with. It would be difficult to choose a centerfold plant as I love them all, and also because we keep a good variety of different plants coming through. But if I had to choose today I would want to feature the amazing Boobie Cactus, the gorgeously patterned Hoya Callistophylla, the epic Ring of Fire and our girthy Thai Constellation.
What have been the most recent additions to your shop?
Well, we recently released penis watering cans and those are a hit! We plan to debut delivery very soon and plans are in the works for Plant Happy Hour at the Far Out Lounge and also have a face-lift coming soon for our vintage trailer.
Any other interesting facts you would like to include?
We sleep about 4 hours a weekend getting all those markets in order, lol. That really is true, but when you love your idea and are trying to create something lasting, and really carve a place for yourself in this cosmic greenhouse we live in, you have to be willing to sacrifice a bit to get there. We try to stay grateful and positively envision the end result, and just hang in there because we are 100% all-in.
Where can everyone follow you all?
IG: @leafprn (no letter “o” in our IG name) FB: www.facebook.com/Leafporn22 Melinda Fore Leaf Porn facebook.com/leafporn22 @Leafprn - Instagram
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By Ilissa Nolan
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America, Russia, Hemp and the Ukraine KEN GIBSON, NYC 2022
Russia, the Ukraine, the United States and hemp have long had an interesting relationship. John Quincy Adams, as the American Minister in St. Petersburg, wrote an article on the culture and preparation of hemp in Russia. This he penned in 1810, 14 years before winning one of the most contentious elections in history to take up residence in the White House.
n his day, navies ruled the seas, and Russia was the number one provider of hemp to the maritime powers. Countries like Britain needed vast supplies of rope and sail to stay afloat. A 1797 record of its hemp purchases states that “no less than 40,000 tonnes” were imported from Russia. Napoleon saw fit to thwart Britannia’s rule by making an agreement with the Czar that he would sell no hemp to the ‘rosbifs’. The French and Russian rulers had often been at odds, but after meeting on a raft in the middle of the Neman River, they found common ground when Napoleon I told Alexander I that he hated the British as much as he; the Russian replied “with those words we will ever be friends.” That was in 1807. By 1812, the beautiful friendship had come to an end over the issue of hemp, which the Russians were selling secretly to France’s enemy. Ships with flags other than the Union Jack would purchase this staple and then transport it to London and Liverpool. Napoleon was not fooled by the ruse, but rather, enraged; he ordered his troops to invade Moscow in the fall. They came to the city, followed by an early winter. The unusually cold weather, along with the Russian swordsmen, deprived France of 500,000 men. Invasions often don’t work out. At that time, the Ukraine was included in Russia, and took part in the cultivation of hemp. During the Russian Revolution era, it made a bid for independence, going so far as to issue its own stamps. None of them were ever put to use, as the Ukraine’s autonomy was cut short and it remained a part of Mother Russia. After
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the Bolshevik Revolution, Glokhiv, a city in the Ukraine, became home to the Institute of Bast Crops. Founded in 1931, when the Ukraine was part of the CCCP, it was renamed in 1992; presently it is known as the Institute of Bast Crops of the Ukrainian Institute of Bast Crops. With the guidance of that institution, hemp production reached a peak of 974,000 hectares under cultivation in 1960. But as world demand decreased, that figure dwindled to 60,000 hectares in 1993. By which date, the Ukraine was an independent nation. Again, it issued its own stamps, which have been in use ever since. As for hemp, the Ukraine has been providing the world with hemp products including oil, which, until this past month, was available in New York. There is concern that all Ukrainian and Russian hemp products will not be available here. And that concern is not limited to hemp products. The Ukraine is the bread basket of Europe and sells much to Asia and Africa. Soybeans, wheat, maize, honey, buckwheat, rye, barley and other staples – along with fertilizer – are expected to be in short supply. The world turns its eyes on these northern nations for basic supplies, as it did for centuries in the case of what was once the world’s most traded commodity – hemp. Which can be grown quite well outside of the frigid regions of the north. The American south, Texas included, grew hemp. Kentucky led the nation in this effort, and cotton growers even sowed hemp before planting cotton to rid the fields of pests. But despite the widespread US cultivation
of hemp, Yankees paid top dollar for Russian. Which led to a lively debate in the House, where it was explained that Russian hemp was processed to a higher grade, allowing it to be of use to the US Navy. Practicality prevailed over patriotism. The attempt of some congressmen to impose sanctions on Russian imports failed. Britain also paid a top price to the Czar, of which then Duke of Wales (later King George IV) expressed concern in 1810. At that time over 5 million pounds sterling were spent on Russia’s hemp. More attention to this issue was paid by Lord Somerville, but since transport costs by ship from Riga and St. Petersburg were much less than domestic overland transport costs, Moscow continued to hold the West to ransom over hemp, until the day of steam and metal ships made hempen sails redundant. A further reduction in hemp demand for the navies occurred when Manila hemp, or abaca, was found to work well in rope production. Russia, and the Ukraine, have since found other products that occasion debate in Western parliaments. In place of ships laden with hemp, Russia has pipelines pumping energy to most UE nations, while the Ukraine, which produces a major percentage of the world’s neon, used in semi-conductors, causes major concern in manufacturing circles. Its fate affects us all. Farmers everywhere prepare for a bad situation. Hopefully, the Ukraine will be able to sow its fields this spring so that wheat, maize, sunflowers, rye and barley will be available to the world, and along with these staples, коноплі, as hemp is called in that land, will also be included in the harvest for 2022.
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Best of the Texas Hemp Reporter: 2 Year Anniversary
BY RUSSELL DOWDEN
In the past 24 months we have published some great information on the revolving door that is Texas cannabis. From Chelsie Spenser smokable hemp ban coverage, to Lisa Pittmans interview with Sid Miller, the pages of the Texas Hemp Reporter have covered a lot in the last two years. In honor of our 2nd birthday we thought it would be nice to recap a “In Case You Missed It” article to commemorate the body of work thus far.
e discussed our History of Texas hemp in an issue discussing the story of George Trout, a Texas pioneer in hemp production in Raymondville Texas in the mid 1930s. This was in Issue # 3 of 2020 where we also covered the magical mys-
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tery tour of the DEA’s new rules on Delta-8 with Andrea Steel & Lisa Pittman’s article, “Smokable Hemp Goes Puff ”. That same edition we also introduced Sweet Sensi in Austin Texas as they make the candies that make us feel good. In fact, Greg Autry would later grace us with his appearance on the cover of Issue # 5
in February of 2021. Our 2nd edition covered Herring Bank and their experience in the cannabis-hemp industries of finance and banking as well as profile Texas Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Sid has a great interview with me on Podcast # 37. Issue #4 covers the 1st Annual Taste of Texas Hemp Cup with Patrick & Liz. The event’s artwork made the cover of the December edition of 2020. The Hemp Cup was a celebration of Texas’ first harvest of “legal-cannabis” with an expert judging panel like Kym Byrns, Leah Lakstins and Max Montrose. With live glass blowing, vendor tents, food, music, and hemp tastings the Hemp Cup was a victory for Texans breaking ground on the first year of producing legal cannabis plants.
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Hemp Flower Production a Boost for Farming BY RUSSELL DOWDEN
Delta-8 and smokable flower are keeping many of the states hemp farmers busy in recent months. After several regulatory loopholes and a DSHS lawsuit the state has allowed for Delta-8 to be sold legally in Texas, but not without some confusion. Delta-8 is a legal cannabis product that comes from hemp but can still give the consumer a light psychotropic high entirely on its own. Many states have issued restrictions around Industrial Hemp in Texas Since Hemp is regulated by the Texas Departthe product, usually states with a strong cannabis market in place, while ment of Agriculture, TDA, and THC tested for others simply ignore it altogether. Nonetheless, a high demand for hemp psychoactive properties. Most of our readers flower has been a lifeline to growers who planted hundreds of acres know already that a hemp crop with THC levels nationally in 2019 expecting a boost in CBD products, only to see the above 0.3% will be impounded and destroyed, so growers are mindfully cautious to not allow market prices plummet after a year of over production in many states. According to Green Market Report, Hemp Benchmarks reported that after rising 4% in May 2021, the average cost per-kilogram price for delta-8 THC distillate fell 1% in June to $1,215. “Notably, both the low and high ends of observed transaction data – $900 and $1,650 per kilogram – were up compared to May.” In Georgia, Reginald Reese of Green Toad Hemp Farm told Hemp Benchmarks that delta-8 THC was here to stay. “The beauty of it is, Georgia [like Texas,] refused the [delta-8] ban,” he said. “We have the right as licensed hemp growers to use every part of that hemp.” Reese spoke to Hemp Benchmark saying that efforts to ban delta-8 THC are part of a “fullcourt press” from the businesses participating in licensed, state-legal marijuana industries, which do not want the competition. But that isn’t a problem in many states like Texas who have a fledging small cannabis program for 1% medical marijuana anyway. This has created a boom in Delta 8 sales across Texas and many other states.
Growing Smokable Flower The Hemp Benchmark report stated “the study has documented over 168.2 million square feet registered for indoor or greenhouse production. This figure is up 328% compared to over 39.5 million square feet recorded in June 2020 and up 85% from over 90.8 million square feet ultimately documented by the end of last year.” Nationally, and here in Texas, it seems that
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many outdoor grow operations have focused growing more greenhouse and indoor operations to fulfill the smokable flower demand. The Benchmark Report reported that smokable CBD Flower has continued to hold its value in the U.S. hemp wholesale market better than perhaps any other hemp-CBD product. “Flower grown indoors or in greenhouses also typically commands a premium price compared to that cultivated outdoors.” The study also concluded that flower prices leveled in June of last year around $300/pound that May. “Despite some reports of still-stagnant demand for CBG, the price for smokable CBG Flower rose 15% in June to average $326 per pound, exceeding the price for its CBD counterpart. The significant increase in the assessed price for CBG Flower this month follows an over 50% jump observed in May.” If these indications from last years numbers continue to move in the upper mid $300-$400 range, then these are significant numbers that is welcomed news for most indoor farmers growing smokable flower.
a mature rate over these levels. “As an alternative crop, the hemp industry in Texas is still in its infancy,” Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist and statewide hemp specialist in Lubbock told AgriLife Today “There is a massive amount of education going on, but we’re still trying to determine what varieties are adaptive so that we can help producers avoid headaches.” Trostle also noted that it doesn’t take a lot of acreage to mass produce CBD into small outputs for the retail and wholesale market. “It doesn’t take many acres to produce CBD for the end-product,” Trostle said. “Around 25 acres producing average yields can fill 1 million bottles that contain about 1 gram of CBD.” Hopefully fiber will begin to expand here in Texas in the coming years. However, Trostle describes Texas conditions present problems for some growers. “The challenge we are trying to address in fiber and grain varieties is that most types are adapted to latitudes further north – Canada, Ukraine, Poland, France – and are very photo-period sensitive,” he said. “It’s not the heat units and sun they need like cotton, it’s longer summer days for growth and then increasing length of night to trigger reproduction. Plant reproduction is triggered far too early this far south.” As for industrial production for hemp - fiber or grain, the main challenge we see here in Texas is that it will still be some time before established processing facilities are developed, and a boost of financial investment in this space by industrial-growers.