Wednesday afternoon, Cincinnati City Council is scheduled to vote to decriminalize marijuana possession by adults 21 years and over within city limits. The vote will take place at Cincinnati City Hall. Last week, a majority of council said they supported marijuana legalization, suggesting that the decriminalization vote will likely succeed. But council will have three decriminalization plans to consider and choose from: one that would follow other Ohio cities by limiting possession to one ounce, and two others that would set limits much higher while also eliminating fines, jail time and court costs for possession offenses.
Cincinnati is About to Become the Twelfth Ohio City to Decriminalize Cannabis
On Monday, Cincinnati Councilman David Mann unveiled a plan to permit adults 21 and over to personally possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The plan also bans public use. The one ounce limit and the ban on public cannabis consumption follows the 10 other Ohio cities that have already decriminalized simple possession. But Mann’s isn’t the only plan Cincinnati city leaders are considering.
Last week, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman and Councilman Jeff Pastor put forward a motion that lays out two additional decriminalization plans. One would allow personal possession limits up to 200 grams of cannabis. The other would cap possession at 100 grams. None of the plans have so far specified specific rules for other forms of cannabis, such as oils, concentrates and edibles.
A major difference between Mann’s plan and the motion by Smitherman and Pastor has to do with criminal records. Mann’s plan would still create criminal records for marijuana use and possession. But the Vice Mayor opposes that plan. Instead, Smitherman and Pastor oppose any criminal records, fines or jail time for marijuana possession.
Currently, Cincinnati law fines violators $25, who are also subject to a 30 day jail sentence.
Cincinnati Policy Makers Weigh Different Decriminalization Limits
Of the three decriminalization options on the table, public officials seem to be favoring the plans with lower possession limits. Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, for example, said he preferred the 100 gram option. But at a recent City Council Law and Public Safety Committee meeting, Chief Isaac stated that he was not comfortable with any level of decriminalization.
County prosecutors, on the other hand, do support decriminalization. But they feel that 100 grams is still too high for personal possession. In a letter written to Councilman Mann, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters stated that he believes the 100 gram level will impact prosecutors’ ability to determine whether someone is in possession of cannabis for personal use or for distribution and trafficking.
“I would urge council to meet with police and prosecutors to determine a minimal amount to decriminalize,” Deters wrote. But Smitherman and Pastor are standing by their proposal for a 100 gram limit.
The largest trade show for hemp and CBD professionals in the Pacific Northwest takes place Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Portland Expo Center.
“Producing the Oregon Hemp Convention is a natural next step for Kush.com, since our business is centered around connecting thousands of cannabis and hemp producers, processors and retailers,” said Michael Gordon, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Kush.com. “For this particular business community, the chance to build relationships face-to-face is a powerful opportunity.”
The Oregon Hemp Convention (#OHC2019) features more than 100 exhibitors and is expected to draw over 2,000 attendees. As part of the 2019 convention’s new features, Kush.com is offering free entry to attendees who bring a donation for the Oregon Food Bank: Just bring five cans of non-perishable food to waive the $10 entry fee. Attendees can also choose to purchase two day passes for $20.
The convention features a silent auction where attendees can bid on a bucking machine, valued at $17,000, as well as gift baskets that include lab-testing vouchers, edibles, smokable goods and topicals.
Other features of this year’s #OHC2019 convention include:
More than 20 speakers representing a wide range of industry sectors
Products available for purchase
Free samples of CBD products from vendors
An onsite consumption bus
CBD cooking demonstrations from Hemp Way Foods and Portland chef Sebastian Carosi
A tie-dye station, where the first 1,000 attendees in the door receive a complimentary shirt to tie-dye on the trade-show floor
After-party on June 7 at the Portland Expo Center with DJ, drinks and appetizers
After-party on June 8 hosted by convention partner Coalition Brewery, featuring custom Oregon Hemp Convention CBD beer, live music, food and more
“Kush.com’s mission is to support licensed cannabis and hemp farmers, producers and retailers by providing a trusted, secure network for them to do business,” Mr. Gordon said. “Presenting the Oregon Hemp Convention is the ideal way for us to elevate that mission and solidify the Pacific Northwest’s position as the leader of this burgeoning American industry.”
The Kush.com marketplace platform connects more than 7,500 licensed and regulated business owners and operators in the largest network of verified and vetted farms and raw-materials vendors in the domestic cannabis and hemp industries.
Kush.com disrupts the traditional broker model by creating a level playing field for buyers and sellers. Kush.com gives farmers and vendors access to an out-of-the-box supply chain, as well as providing free, up-to-date industry data and forecasting, business support, industry-specific tutorials and marketplace pricing indexes. The platform has already facilitated nearly $11 million in transactions and Kush.com is expecting nearly $100 million to close in the next eight months.
About Kush.comKush.com is a managed marketplace dedicated to helping the legal hemp and cannabis industries thrive. Kush builds bridges between licensed producers, processors and retailers with an innovative B2B platform for wholesale transactions and business development. Our carefully curated network of verified and vetted buyers and sellers is thousands strong. By streamlining sales and procurement, Kush.com frees up the resources of fast-growing cannabis and hemp brands so they can scale quickly, and gives any operation, big or small, the same opportunities to succeed. Along with our out-of-the-box supply chain, Kush provides members with free market forecasting, business support, education and pricing indexes based on marketplace data. To learn more, visit Kush.com.
In what could be one of the most convincing financial arguments for the legalization of recreational marijuana yet, the state of Utah has announced that cannabis cultivators will face a licensing fee from between $75,000 to $100,000.
“The program has to be self-sufficient and pay for itself,” said Andrew Rigby, who is program manager for the state’s marijuana industry. Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food, the cannabis industry’s regulatory body, has estimated that legalizing medical marijuana will cost the state over $563,000 in 2020. All the same, at the current fee rates, applications and licensing has been forecasted to bring in $1.1 million.
Regardless of the math, such high fees will certainly present a challenge to small marijuana businesses without a lot of capital with which to open up shop, and put the ball squarely in the court of larger or more monied firms.
“It could be a barrier for a few people,” Rigby allowed to Utah publication The Spectrum. In addition to the licensing fee, cannabis entrepreneurs will also be responsible for an application fee between $5,000 and $10,000.
Utah has seen its share of cannabis political turmoil since voters passed Proposition 2, which authorized medical marijuana. After the election, legislators took input from the Church of Latter Day Saints to re-draft the bill during a special session, resulting in a lawsuit from cannabis advocates against the state that the attorney general has requested be dismissed. But patient groups say that the new legislation is insufficient, and caution against inappropriate levels of influence from the Mormons over state affairs.
“Let’s go back to actual legislation and not theocracy,” said Doug Rice, president of the Epilepsy Association of Utah, one of the suit’s plaintiffs.
Though dispensaries won’t be opening until next year, Utah’s number one healthcare provider, Intermountain Healthcare, has already instructed its doctors that they will be able to recommend marijuana to qualified patients. Cannabis advocates had hoped that this announcement would encourage legislators to focus on the relief that marijuana provides patients, instead of the concerns of religious lobbying groups.
Compared to other southwestern states that have regulated marijuana previously, Utah’s are high figures. In Nevada, application fees run at $5,000 and growing facilities pay licensing fees of $3,000. Arizona charges a similar application fee, with an approval to operate fee available for $2,500. Granted, Nevada is able to recoup its program’s operating fees from taxes on the sale of recreational cannabis (see how that makes sense, now?)
Rigby countered such comparisons by pointing to Utah’s strict cap on marijuana businesses. At the moment, only 10 grow facilities will be able to operate in the state, so those 10 firms will be essentially taking on the program’s entire operating costs, which include staff hours and the purchase of equipment needed to oversee the industry.
“The math is very simple,” Rigby commented. “I think applicants will find that it is a fair price.”
Should you be in Utah and like to weigh in on these proposed program guidelines, there is a public hearing taking place at 350 N. Redwood Road in Salt Lake City at 5 p.m. on June 5.
The Canadian government wants to learn more about the health benefits and risks of marijuana use, ponying up a significant amount of money to help support research.
On Wednesday, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research announced it would be dropping roughly $24.5 million to bolster cannabis research. The money will help support 26 projects throughout Canada “that cover topics such as the use of cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) oil for the treatment of pain and anxiety,” according to a press release from the agency.
Additionally, the CIHR said the funding “will also support research teams that will explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis in areas such as cancer, chronic pain, and neurodevelopment.”
“We are investing in research to provide the evidence needed to maintain policies for cannabis use that protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s minister of health, said in a statement. “The projects announced today will result in new information on the health effects of cannabis, which will be valuable to governments, public health professionals, health care providers, and all Canadians.”
The funding comes in response to the Canadian government’s legalization of recreational medical marijuana use last fall, which made it the first major world economy to do so. The new law made it legal for adults aged 19 and older to purchase, use and grow pot for recreational purposes—except for in Quebec and Alberta, where the legal age is 18.
In conjunction with the end to prohibition, Canadian officials introduced a bill in March to issue pardons for individuals who had previously been convicted of “simple cannabis possession,” defined as “a criminal charge given by law enforcement for possession of a controlled substance, in this case cannabis, for personal use with no intent to traffic.” The bill remains in limbo.
Wednesday’s announcement underscores a disconnect in the legalization movement: while countries and parts of the United States have begun ending prohibition, striking a blow against decades of fear-mongering and misinformation about pot use, there remains a dearth of credible research about its effects—whether positive or harmful. It’s what prompted Charles R. Broderick, an early investor in Canada’s cannabis industry, to donate $9 million last month to Harvard and MIT to support marijuana research.
“I want to destigmatize the conversation around cannabis—and, in part, that means providing facts to the medical community, as well as the general public,” Broderick said at the time.
Thanks to a $4.5 million contribution from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the CIHR said Wednesday that the funding will “also support research that will examine the public health impact” of Canada’s new law. A $2.85 million contribution from the Mental Health Commission of Canada will ensure that the funding “will also go towards research aimed at addressing key research gaps regarding cannabis use and mental health,” the agency said.
The funding will also include $390,000 to support a pair of cannabis public awareness projects in Alberta, while the University of Calgary received money to provide sessions designed to help students better understand marijuana’s effects.
“We have put in place a strict regulatory framework for cannabis that aims to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and the profits out of the hands of criminals,” Bill Blair, the minister of border security and organized crime reduction, said Wednesday. “This research will make an important contribution as we continue to roll out the regulatory framework. We must continue to ensure that prevention, harm reduction and education remain at the forefront of these efforts.”
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (“Aurora” or the “Company”) (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), the Canadian company defining the future of cannabis worldwide, and UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, are excited to announce an exclusive, multi-year, multi-million dollar, global partnership that is expected to significantly advance further clinical research on the relationship between 100% hemp derived Cannabidiol (CBD) products and athlete wellness and recovery, with a view to accelerating CBD product development and education.
UFC boasts more than 300 million fans worldwide, with programming that is broadcast to over 170 countries and territories, in 40 different languages, to over one billion TV households. The UFC Performance Institute, the world’s first mixed martial arts multi-disciplinary research, innovation, and training center, opened in Las Vegas in 2017 has served more than 400 athletes over the past two years. The facility is a global leader in athletic performance research and provides support and educational services to athletes on health, well-being, nutrition, and injury prevention.
The research will be conducted at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, in collaboration with UFC’s sports performance team, as well as with athletes who choose to participate in the studies. Clinical studies will focus on pain management, inflammation, injury/exercise recovery, and mental well-being. Aurora’s research will be led by Dr. Jason Dyck, Professor at the University of Alberta and a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine. He also serves as an indendent director on the board of Aurora Cannabis, where he provides valuable oversight for the Company’s scientific efforts.
“Since the day we opened the Performance Institute, our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition, and recovery services,” said UFC President Dana White. “This partnership with Aurora is an extension of that goal, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Aurora to find new ways to improve the health and safety of athletes who compete in UFC.”
Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora added, “This global partnership places focus squarely on the health and well-being of UFC’s talented and highly trained athletes. The Aurora-UFC research partnership creates a global platform to launch targeted educational and awareness campaigns, while creating numerous opportunities to accelerate our global CBD business.”
UFC®, is the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization and the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world. UFC boasts more than 300 million fans worldwide, including 70 million social media followers across all of its digital platforms, and its programming is broadcast in over 170 countries and territories to one billion TV households worldwide in 40 different languages. UFC produces more than 40 live events annually and consistently sells out some of the world’s most prestigious arenas. Since 2001, UFC has been proudly headquartered in Las Vegas, supported by a network of employees around the world. UFC’s current roster of athletes features more than 570 men and women representing over 55 countries. UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand, and original content to fans around the world. UFC was acquired in 2016 by global sports, entertainment, and fashion leader Endeavor, along with strategic investors Silver Lake Partners and KKR, in what is among the largest transactions in sports history. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram: @UFC.
Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, Aurora is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain, from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetics research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-add product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.
Highly differentiated from its peers, Aurora has established a uniquely advanced, consistent and efficient production strategy, based on purpose-built facilities that integrate leading-edge technologies across all processes, defined by extensive automation and customization, resulting in the massive scale production of high-quality consistent product. Intended to be replicable and scalable globally, our production facilities are designed to produce cannabis of significant scale, with high quality, industry-leading yields, and low per gram production costs. Each of Aurora’s facilities is built to meet European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (“EU GMP”) standards. Certification has been granted to Aurora’s first production facility in Mountain View County, the MedReleaf Markham facility, and its wholly owned European medical cannabis distributor Aurora Deutschland. All Aurora facilities are designed and built to the EU GMP standard.
In addition to the Company’s rapid organic growth and strong execution on strategic M&A, which to date includes 17 wholly owned subsidiary companies – MedReleaf, CanvasRX, Peloton Pharmaceutical, Aurora Deutschland, H2 Biopharma, Urban Cultivator, BC Northern Lights, Larssen Greenhouses, CanniMed Therapeutics, Anandia, HotHouse Consulting, MED Colombia, Agropro, Borela, ICC Labs, Whistler, and Chemi Pharmaceutical – Aurora is distinguished by its reputation as a partner and employer of choice in the global cannabis sector, having invested in and established strategic partnerships with a range of leading innovators, including: Radient Technologies Inc. (TSXV: RTI), Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. (TSXV: HEMP), Cann Group Ltd. (ASX: CAN), Micron Waste Technologies Inc. (CSE: MWM), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO), CTT Pharmaceuticals (OTCC: CTTH), Alcanna Inc. (TSX: CLIQ), High Tide Inc. (CSE: HITI), EnWave Corporation (TSXV: ENW), Capcium Inc. (private), Evio Beauty Group (private), and Wagner Dimas (private).
Aurora’s Common Shares trade on the TSX and NYSE under the symbol “ACB”, and are a constituent of the S&P/TSX Composite Index.
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The world’s largest cannabis company has bought British beauty brand This Works for £43m in a deal that will see it launch a range of products infused with the cannabis ingredient CBD to help users sleep and improve their skin.
Canopy Growth, a Canadian firm which sells both medicinal and recreational cannabis products paid cash for the company, founded by former Vogue journalist Kathy Phillips and owned by private equity group Tengram Capital Partners.
This Works chief executive, Dr Anna Persaud, will remain in charge after the takeover and will oversee the launch of a range of products containing cannabidiol.
Persaud said: “As a leading wellness brand and a pioneer in sleep beauty products, we are passionate about the opportunity CBD offers beauty consumers.
“Canopy Growth will provide the expertise, research, scientific rigour and quality assurance that will allow This Works to drive the agenda in wellness beauty’s ever-evolving market.”
London-based This Works is one of a breed of fast-growing beauty firms to have capitalised on social media and online sales to build a customer base rapidly, challenging well-established players.
Its best known products include a deep sleep pillow spray, intended to help induce sleep, and its skin deep dry leg oil.
Canopy was founded six years ago but has built up a stock market value of $16bn thanks to the deregulation and legalisation of cannabis in North America.
It has also signed lucrative partnerships with celebrities such as celebrity TV chef Martha Stewart, who promotes its medicinal products and rapper Snoop Dogg, who advertises its recreational range.
Canopy is expected to use its financial muscle to help This Works expand its international customer base.
Bruce Linton, chairman and co-chief executive of Canopy Growth said CBD products had the potential to “disrupt the cosmetic and sleep solution industries”.
The deal will also expand Canopy’s presence in the UK, where it already has a joint venture called Spectrum Biomedical, which is focused on producing medicinal cannabis products for patients in the UK.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the makers of Green Fever, a true-to-life thriller encapsulating the array of threats that marijuana legalization has posed to small farmers. It’s no secret that the grey area created by California’s new marijuana legislation has been leading many into debt, but there’s now an increase in danger to the lives of farmers, who are often disregarded due to the many preconceived notions surrounding them.
Through the lens of a home invasion, weed farmers in Green Feverare represented, not as hick outlaws, but as the struggling, blue collar, hardworking farmers they truly are, now thrust into the unreasonable demands spurred by imprudent regulations.
Sitting down with me were Gerard Roxburgh (Director, Datura Studios), Misha Crosby (Producer, actor), Rick J. Lee (Producer, Prime One), Paul Telfer (Writer, actor) and “Rob”, who I’ll identify by his character name since he’s been forced to operate in the grey area of the marijuana industry. It is Rob’s true life experience depicted in Green Fever, and it’s a real wonder he survived.
Hannah Ward: I’d love to start with asking you guys if you can tell me a little bit about Datura Studios, Prime One and how you guys merged together to create Green Fever.
Gerard Roxburgh: I had done a documentary in 2011, Misha (Crosby) and I met on the back of that, I did a short film with Misha through a friend who had met me at a festival. I met Paul (Telfer) at the exact same festival, Rick (Lee) actually went to high school with my wife and got introduced to me through that same documentary from 2011. So that one documentary put me in touch with these three and then I did Jiu Jitsu with this guy (points to Rob).
Misha and I started Datura Studios with Urijah Faber, who’s our other producing partner; we had another couple films we were trying to get going for a while and due to financing issues and Rick came to me saying we should just partner up on our own and not rely on other financing companies. Rick actually originally pitched me an idea of a home invasion crime story and when he told me that I thought, I know a guy who kinda went through this about a year ago and that was my friend Rob here.
Rick J. Lee: That was December of 2017 when I approached Gerard with the idea. In February, we started writing the script and getting financing, March we did a location scout, and we started filming in May.
HW: So you got funding for Green Fever before the script was even done?
GR: Yeah, none of our financiers read the script.
HW: What?! How did you get this financed?
Misha Crosby: People really believed in us. We went out, literally, person to person and talked to them about the project and between all of them we had enough to get going. We didn’t actually have the full budget before we started shooting.
RJL: What was funny is we approached a lot of investors and a lot of them were just like “Eh” but once we had the trailer done there were people knocking at our door.
HW: So obviously film investors are generally very hesitant to give away their money but do you feel like there was more or less hesitance to do so because it was about cannabis?
RJL: I think what it came down to, is that they believed in us. We’re all very busy in the industry and i think everything that we all work on is successful. So it wasn’t like oh we’re going to let this die. We could’ve done a movie about anything, they weren’t hesitant about cannabis.
GR: One of our investors who I just got the “OK” to mention, is actually involved in the cannabis industry itself. Our executive producer Rob Hickman is one of the Founders of Tyson Ranch, Mike Tyson’s company. They have an entertainment division which is going to support new filmmakers in both the cannabis and the film space, because Rob was actually a movie producer before getting involved with Mike’s company.
PT: If anything, there’s a lot of money floating around cannabis right now in northern California or California in general. I know that our film isn’t necessarily a weed movie in the stoner sense, but people that like weed also like movies. It’s not that much of a jump to get them to be interested in investing in something like this.
MC: Yeah and it definitely feels of the right time. A lot of great stories are told in the time that they’re set and this is definitely part of the culture that we have in California now.
RJL: I mean we lived in the prohibition of marijuana, right?
PT: The specific issues in [Green Fever] came about because cannabis is legal here but still illegal federally. So on both sides, on both the criminal and the legitimate side of the marijuana business, there are people caught in between two sets of laws and two ways of being, which is kind of the big theme of the film.
Rob: Prohibition is the catalyst for the violence most often times.
HW: So with that in mind, how do you guys as a collective feel about the legalization of recreational weed and how has that affected the industry?
Rob: Well I think that anybody that has any real roots or involvement in the industry want it to be decriminalized more than re-criminalized, and the decriminalization feels more like re-criminalization. It’s a lot of taxation without representation, for lack of a better word. Nobody knows where the money is going, nobody knows why the taxes are so high.
GR: And so how that directly affected the story of our film, you have these characters that are farmers that would otherwise not be involved with people who are criminals, who are dealing with people that may have to traffic weed across state lines, which thereby opens them up to be exploited at the hand of criminals who know that it’s a cash based business.
MC: Not being able to put money into a federal bank account and having to deal in cash is a huge catalyst for why people are going to come and try to take it from them.
HW: So with this movie, is that a question that you wanted to pose to the audience? Or is there a specific opinion?
PT: Definitely more of a question. I think we tried to not engage in a specific message. I’m very pro-legalization, I just think it should be done responsibly and that all levels of the industry from the farmers to the distribution should be given every opportunity to succeed—which doesn’t seem to be what’s happening. So that was a big part of at least getting into the characters’ immediate dilemma. Here’s a guy who seems to be doing everything right by the laws of the land and has brought in his brother to do this thing together as a family, but the specific nature of the way legalization has played out in northern California means that what he’s trying to do is actually impossible; he’s going to get out-bought and out-produced by large corporate interest that’s coming in. There are loads of great things coming out of legalization, but at the same time we can’t ignore the individuals that are getting hurt by it. It’s not going to just go away. These are real people who have their livelihoods threatened.
HW: Non-fiction content is very trendy right now, so what was the decision here to make this into a narrative?
GR: It was entirely based on my relationship with Rob. Rob and I did Jiu Jitsu together for years, and none of us are weapons experts, except, you know, we took a couple classes under our coach, Lee McDermott. He was always harping on us about learning weapons stuff; we were more interested in hand-to-hand. We learned a couple of specific moves and those moves ended up being the ones that saved Rob’s life in real life. Our friend lived this crazy event and we were like, we’re filmmakers, what do we do, we tell interesting stories, so it just made sense to tell it as a narrative.
GR: We took Rob’s event and used that as the inciting incident for a lot of the stuff that happens for the first and second act. For the third act, we decided to take creative leeway. The event that happened to Rob happened over the course of 30 minutes; to tell a 90 minute feature film, you want to be able to have the creative leeway to make it more cinematic.
HW: What was sensationalized and what formed those decisions?
PT: I don’t think sensationalized is the right word because we weren’t necessarily boosting up events that didn’t happen. It was more just digging in to give the characters more life beyond just being these drug-addicted thugs.
Rob: I mean we have my story, everyone here knows my perspective, but what we don’t have is the exact perspective of the criminals—the guys that wanted to steal from me.
GR: There was actually a guy who was tortured, his penis was cut off, and that was kind of the inspiration for [Paul’s character] Ticker. So we combined real stuff, so even the embellishment is based on truth. In terms of the truthfulness of Maria, did Rob have a pregnant girlfriend? Yes.
RJL: Do we really want to focus on what’s sensationalized?
HW: Well the reason I ask isn’t because I think that anything was sensationalized, but I think that people don’t realize that there is a lot of danger in this crossover of legalization. It’s just to say that this stuff really is real, this is the cause and effect.
GR: The actual guy that robbed Rob…
GR: (Laughs) Yeah attempted. He had spent years in prison, maybe 19, 20, for having a small amount of cocaine. When he got out, he was left with very little opportunity and seemed like an empathetic character. He seemed like not a bad guy, just a guy caught up in a bad situation, which is why we made [the character] Swift. A lot of that is based on the real guy that was involved.
PT: The only thing I would say is totally sensationalized, to use that word, would be the Ticker character, whereas Swift and everyone else, ultimately have some basis either in the reality of what happened to Rob, or in some of the other research materials that we came across about that specific region of crimes. Ticker was a purely movie creation that really came out of a previous iteration of the home invasion idea that we had had, but the reason that works is because the rest of it is based in reality. We tried to keep it as grounded as possible.
RJL: The other thing too is [that] people send us private messages [on Instagram and Facebook] saying “This really happens, thanks for taking this and putting it into film.” We had one five-paragraph message from a guy saying this was the life he lives and he wanted to be involved.
HW: And this is from people just seeing the teaser?
RJL: Just the teaser, yes, and the photos and reading the synopsis. We get messages all the time.
PT: A buddy I had worked with years ago [reached out] and when I got back to LA and got back in touch with him, he was basically living out the inverse of the Green Fever story. Instead of being robbed by criminals that assumed he wouldn’t go to the police because he was operating in a grey area, he was essentially robbed by police who knew he wouldn’t go to the feds to snitch on them because everyone is operating in this grey space.
The laws are in such a state of flux and there’s a dissonance between state and federal. There are so many negative and positive things coming out of legalization but as it affects specific individuals involved in the industry, [there’s a] lack of clarity about the laws. Part of our hook on this was that the farmers in the movie just want to be law-abiding citizens who are forced by the nature of the laws here, to become outlaws in order to make money, to smuggle across state lines. It’s the only way they can see a path out of the crippling debt they’re getting into, while trying to do the right thing.
Rob: We’re just at a time and place where it’s pre-track-and-trace and post-local permitting. You can grow it but what do you do with it? A lot of the tax money and the reason why the taxes are so high and burdensome is because they’re going to re-allocate a lot of that money into new enforcement, which is unprecedented.
PT: I was listening to the governor’s State of The State address, and he was saying that he’s pulling all these troops from the border, but a lot of them are being re-tasked to go after illegal growers. Which again, just falls into the question of what is a legal [versus] illegal grow in California at this time.
PT: I mean, look, we weren’t trying to have a specific opinion about any of this, but I do think that a lot of it is confusing.
HW: Is that the message?
PT: Well yeah, no one’s really looking at the friction. There’s so much emphasis on the positive side of things, but there are just so many more stories of people getting crushed between the forces of criminality and legality as it moves forward. And the fact that no one’s telling any stories about it just left more room for us.
HW: Even though it’s pretty accurate, was there a concern that showing the violent aspect of this business would add to any negative stigmas that are already there.
RJL: I mean we’re just telling a story that really happened. We’ve talked to other farmers that have said that this happens all the time.
Rob: There’s nothing that’s in the story that hasn’t happened.
HW: Since decriminalization in particular?
PT: The specific nature of [Green Fever], especially the events of the first and second acts, are really born out of the dilemma of decriminalization.
MC: Federally, cannabis is still a Schedule I substance, which is another conversation entirely, but if it was not restricted, then people [wouldn’t be] put in these situations when they have to work in areas of grey. That’s when demons come out. You don’t have the law on your side.
PT: If they were tulip farmers and there was some issue with tulip laws in California, the same story could happen. The film treats cannabis quite neutrally, as a crop.
GR: And the weed is the backdrop of the film.
HW: What do you think is the primary focus of your film?
GR: The relationships, Rob’s story. It’s tapping into peoples’ fear about feeling safe in their house. The last place you want to feel attacked is in your own home.
HW: What’s next for you guys?
GR: We submitted [Green Fever] to about a dozen film festivals, so right now we’re trying to figure out when and where our premiere is going to be and then see where it goes from there.
MC: Working on the international rights right now, and we’re talking to some sales agents with regards to the domestic deal and some big VOD players, so we just have to make the right decision for the film. Ultimately we feel the best decision for the film is where it’ll get the most eyes. We want it to be seen and treated in the right way.
PT: Then we just want to gear up and do another one.
HW: Will that one be cannabis focused?
GR: Probably not.
PT: I do have a non-fiction cannabis related thing, but it’s the sort of thing that through whatever success we get through Green Fever, that would certainly help with this. It’s more centered on the corrupt cop side instead of the corrupt criminals.
GR: For me as a director I just like to make films that feel a certain way. I like to pack in emotion and for this movie I wanted people to feel uncomfortable in a lot of it. I just want to elicit a reaction which I feel like it will, but the next film may elicit something completely different.
Rob: Everybody wants what’s right, but what’s right is not clear
HW: So for an audience who hasn’t seen Green Fever, what can they expect to walk out of a theater and take away from it?
PT: To feel really uncomfortable a few times but in an enjoyable way.
MC: It’s a white knuckle ride that will not let you go until the end. I feel that that’s what we wanted to accomplish, I know Gerard had an idea in his head that it was going to be a gripping thriller and it was certainly that.
Adults in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis (population: 55,000) may legally consume cannabis in private, according to a ruling from the nation’s highest court.
The court determined that provisions outlawing the blanket use and possession of cannabis infringed upon citizen’s constitutional freedoms. The ruling does not negate existing laws outlawing the trafficking or sale of cannabis.
The nation’s Attorney General now has 90 days to comport island law with the court’s order.
Last year, justices in South Africa issued a similar verdict upholding that the adult consumption of cannabis in private is constitutionally protected behavior.
High Times, the most well-known, globally recognized brand in cannabis, today announced the headlining musical acts for its upcoming Cannabis Cup events in SoCal and NorCal. The headlining acts of this year’s High Times Cannabis Cup include rapper, writer and actor Ice Cube (SoCal) and Los Angeles pop duo Capital Cities (NorCal).
The Cannabis Cup SoCal will take place from May 25-26 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, California, and will also feature headliner Tory Lanez, a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer. Additional supporting musical acts confirmed for the event include viral internet star and Los Angeles rapper Blueface and Girl Talk, a hit DJ specializing in mashups and digital sampling. Attendees of the Cannabis Cup can also expect Smokepurpp, Thriftworks and Harry Mack, among others.
“Each year, High Times is dedicated to lining up some of the most talented, eclectic musical acts for our Cannabis Cup, and this years’ headliners are no different,” said Kraig Fox, CEO of High Times. “As we continue to grow our footprint, the hard work of our teams and their ability to collaborate with local officials in each community have further strengthened our ability to seamlessly throw a cannabis lifestyle and cultural event with global recognition.”
Following this month’s Cup, the Cannabis Cup NorCal will take place from June 1-2 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. With Capital Cities and psychedelic rock band Claypool Lennon Delirium headlining the show, attendees can also expect Brooklyn electronic duo Matt and Kim along with supporting acts Sol Seed and Mystic Roots.
High Times has been staging Cannabis Cup events for three decades and holds over a dozen live events a year spanning Europe, the United States and Canada. Each of High Times’ events draw tens of thousands of attendees who gather to celebrate the cannabis lifestyle, music and products. Additional offerings at this years’ events will include High Times’ exhibitor village, which is made up of hundreds of brands from across the cannabis landscape, from growers to products to artists, as well as educational seminars, art, food and much more.
High Times will also continue to conduct its annual Cannabis Cup contest across its events, which will judge entries in 17 different categories this year. The winners of the Cannabis Cup will be announced during an awards ceremony taking place on Sunday at each event.
In addition, High Times will be selling pink pins in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. dedicated to advancing the world’s most promising research. The pins can be purchased online and at each Cannabis Cup event. High Times will donate 100 percent of all proceeds to BCRF.
Tickets are available for purchase through the Cannabis Cup website, as well as at the following links:
About High Times For more than 44 years, High Times has been the world’s most well-known cannabis brand – championing the lifestyle and educating the masses on the benefits of this natural flower. From humble beginnings as a counterculture lifestyle publication, High Times has evolved into hosting industry-leading events like the Cannabis Cup and the High Times Business Summit, while providing digital TV and social networks, globally distributed merchandise, international licensing deals, and millions of fans and supporters across the globe. In the world of Cannabis, High Times is the arbiter of quality.