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California Tries Again with CBD

California has a rocky history when it comes to hemp-derived CBD. Despite the fact that the state adopted a robust medical and recreational cannabis program, for years it has taken the mystifying position that many kinds of hemp-derived products simply can’t be sold. Essentially, foods, beverages, and dietary supplements are a no-go according to the

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California has a rocky history when it comes to hemp-derived CBD. Despite the fact that the state adopted a robust medical and recreational cannabis program, for years it has taken the mystifying position that many kinds of hemp-derived products simply can’t be sold. Essentially, foods, beverages, and dietary supplements are a no-go according to the CA Department of Public Health (you can read an older analysis of mine on the CDPH’s position here).

For some history, in 2019, the state legislature tried to pass AB-228, which would have cleared the pathway for many new kinds of CBD ingestible products in California. That bill made it pretty far through the state legislature but ultimately died close to the end of the process given intense opposition, among other things.

Last year, at the very end of the legislative session, the legislature tried to quickly draft and pass a bill, AB-2028 (you can read about it briefly here) which didn’t get enough support to pass. A large part of the reason that AB-2028 failed was that it was introduced so late in the session, due mainly to COVID-19 delays and the state’s shifting of resources.

The 2021 legislative session recently kicked off, and a new CBD bill, AB-45, was introduced. Like its predecessor bills, the goal of AB-45 is to “legalize” many different CBD products. AB-45 takes a lot of concepts from AB-228, but adds some things that–while intended to compromise apparently controversial aspects of prior legislative attempts–are sure to upset some people in the industry.

Below is a high-level analysis of some of the key points of AB-45:

  1. AB-45 will essentially be a temporary measure until the feds formally regulate CBD products. Once that happens, the state will be forced to adhere to those regulations to the extent that they are different.
  2. The bill would give the CDPH regulatory authority over CBD products. Keep in mind that there are no existing CBD laws, but CDPH has taken it upon itself to effectively regulate away CBD products via the FAQ document linked above. It will be interesting to see how CDPH decides to regulate CBD products and how it will do so differently from cannabis products.
  3. CBD product manufacturers will be prohibited from making untrue health-related statements with respect to their products. This is largely consistent with what the Food and Drug Administration has been taking issue with over the past few years, though notably not as broad as the FDA’s position which essentially bans any health-related statement. The law also contains other stringent labeling requirements that are largely consistent with other states’ requirements.
  4. Wholesale food manufacturing facilities that make products containing hemp derivatives will need to comply with good manufacturing practices as defined by California law, and will be prohibited from using hemp in food products or dietary supplements unless it comes from a state or county that has adopted a hemp production plan in compliance with federal law and the cultivator at issue is in good standing under its jurisdiction’s laws. This means that ensuring that hemp comes from a lawful source will be critical for hemp product manufacturers.
  5. The bill states that foods, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetics are not considered adulterated just by virtue of containing CBD. This is an important point, given that the CDPH and local health departments have in many cases taken the position that CBD is an adulterant. Of course, this new law would not say that these products are by definition adulterated–for example, adding poisonous or harmful substances could still render a product adulterated–but it would dramatically change the way the state looks at CBD.
  6. “Industrial hemp products”, which are defined as foods, food additives, dietary supplements, herbs, and cosmetics (but NOT smokable products, as discussed below) may only be sold if, among other things, they have a certificate of analysis showing that they have a permissible THC level and were derived from lawful hemp.
  7. The CDPH will have the ability to adopt age requirements for the sale of some products. This is an interesting feature of the bill. The state decided (so far) not to require that all CBD products be sold to persons over 21 or 18, but is giving CDPH the discretion to decide that essentially on a product by product basis and based on scientific research. That said, the bill contains provisions that restrict advertising to people under 18, so it’s a safe bet that some kind of age requirements will eventually be imposed.
  8. The bill makes clear that hemp derivatives cannot be added to medical devices, prescription drugs, products containing nicotine, tobacco, or alcohol, or any other smokable product (including both smokable flower and vape products). This last category is sure to be an issue for the industry as there are many companies that manufacture and sell smokable hemp products across the state. This provision of the bill is likely to be the most hotly debated provision during the legislative cycle.

Again, these are just some of the bigger ticket items in the new bill and there is still a lot more. There’s a high probability that parts of the bill will be modified over time and things may be added or taken away. We plan to follow AB-45 closely as it progresses through the state legislature, so please stay tuned.

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Growing

How to Identify Pests in Your Cannabis Grow

Experienced and novice cannabis growers alike understand that pests can ruin a crop, no matter how well watered, fed, or tended. One of the keys to making sure that your plants grow into healthy, robust, and consumable cannabis is to keep a close eye o…

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Experienced and novice cannabis growers alike understand that pests can ruin a crop, no matter how well watered, fed, or tended. One of the keys to making sure that your plants grow into healthy, robust, and consumable cannabis is to keep a close eye on any pests that might infiltrate your grow, then take the appropriate steps to eradicate them without ruining your garden. Not only will it help keep the plants alive, thriving plants have more energy to produce trichomes and terpenes, making for better bud

Let’s take a look at some common pests found on cannabis plants, how to identify them, and lastly, get rid of them for good. With just a little maintenance and vigilance, your cannabis garden can be pest-free.

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Common Pests Found on Cannabis Plants

According to the Smithsonian Institution, there are likely more unclassified insects in the world than classified, and the running guess is somewhere between 2 million and 30 million. Thus, this is by no means a definitive list of bugs that feed on cannabis but should serve as a good starting point for most pest problems. 

Caterpillars

Before a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly and flits away, it can be very hazardous to your cannabis plants. You know that book The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Turns out it’s a true story about how caterpillars eat everything in sight, including that tasty cannabis. Caterpillars can be very dangerous because they tend to go unnoticed, especially if they are a borer caterpillar, meaning they burrow into the plant and eat it from the inside out. But even caterpillars on the exterior will nosh away, potentially causing great damage to your plants. 

To figure out if caterpillars are ruining your plants, inspect the leaves weekly for holes from feeding, droppings on the leaves that look like tiny black specks, holes, and damage to the stems, and yellowing on upper leaves.

Natural enemies of caterpillars are wasps and praying mantises, and introducing those to the environment could make a difference. These options are typically easier for outdoor grows, but can also work indoors with some preparation. Other interventions include using a product like Bug Blaster spray or neem oil (which you can make at home).

Neem oil use has been controversial in some cannabis circles, as there is a belief among some that it may play a role in CHS (Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome), however, no definitive statements can be made without more research. The connection between neem oil and cannabis hyperemesis syndrome has yet to be fully explored or verified, but it’s still good to be aware and to be sure to closely follow usage directions.

Aphids

Even house plants have the occasional plague of aphids. Tiny and red, yellow, black, pale, green, or brown, these bugs can be easy to miss because they cling to the underside of leaves, reproduce quickly, and drain your plant of nutrients. Outdoor grows tend to fare a little better in the battle against aphids since natural predators are present, but indoor plants can be decimated quickly by these teensy pests. Not only do they siphon nutrients away from the plant, they leave a sweet substance called “honeydew” that attracts other insects and turns the leaves black and moldy

Aphids and their honeydew on a plant

The honeydew left behind from aphids leads to further damages to the plant by attracting even more pests. photo credit

Because that honeydew attracts other pests, if you begin to notice a lot of ants or ladybugs coming around your plants, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re well into an aphid problem. Aphids can be hard to shake, but wasps and ladybugs are natural predators. Nonetheless, you should visually inspect the underside of plant leaves at least once a week. If introducing predators doesn’t ameliorate the problem, there are a couple of natural solutions to get rid of cannabis pests to try, like garlic or tomato leaf water. 

Spider Mites

Spider mites are like the supervillains of cannabis pests: uber reproductive, zombie-like in their ability to come back from what you thought was death, capable of spinning webs while eating everything in sight then completely disappearing before turning up again – they’re nearly impossible to spot and even harder to eradicate. Spotting spider mites is difficult because they are minuscule, but doing a daily inspection of both sides of your plant leaves could help to prevent a massive infestation.

Signs of spider mites begins with speckles, then a browning or yellowing of leaves, and premature leaf death.

If any parts of your plant are covered in fine webbing, that’s a sure sign you’re in a bad spot. The best way to avoid mites is to stay vigilant with your leaf inspections. If you do notice signs of mites, try introducing a fan into the environment. Strong air currents make it difficult for mites to breed. Spider mites also prefer temperatures of 60-80 degrees, so experimenting with temperature might also slow an infestation down. Since mites are likely to come back, consider a spray like Azamax or Spinosad to get rid of them for good (again, be sure to follow use directions carefully).

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are just as hungry as caterpillars, but their gourmet meal is from the stem and roots of your plants and not the leaves. Beginning at the topsoil level, both larvae and adults will munch their way down into the root system, badly impact plant drainage, and compromise the structural stability of your plants. However, they’re nearly impossible to spot because they are dark in color, as is soil.

Fungus Gnats

Although fungus gnats are small, the damage they leave behind is mighty. photo credit

Seeing swarms of gnats near the base of your plant is one sign you’ve got a fungus gnat problem. Other symptoms are stems that weaken and simply fall over, adult plants that start to droop, wilt, spot, or yellow, or plants that stop growing altogether. 

Fungus gnats love moist conditions, so keeping the top layer of soil dry is a smart preventative measure. Some other hacks to try include placing a cloth on top of the soil to prevent female gnats from laying eggs or laying a sticky pad near the plant’s base to stick larvae. You could also mix some peroxide and water and spray it around the area of gnat infestation. A common-sense tactic for an indoor grow is to put screens on the windows and the doors closed to keep gnats out. 

Why Pests and Bugs Are Attracted to Cannabis

Something to keep in mind about pests, in general, is that they love a monoculture or a space dedicated to growing only one crop. Researchers from the University of California Davis theorize that if an insect makes itself at home in that one crop, it has a large food supply, creating an all-you-can-eat kind of scenario for the pest, making it that much harder to eradicate. As you likely don’t want to introduce other plants into a cannabis garden (for a number of reasons), this issue will always exist to some degree when dealing with weed. 

This is why, as mentioned, another option is to introduce other beneficial insects. Not only do they prey on harmful pests, but they are also an excellent chemical-free pest control option. The bugs already want to be there, you’re just bringing them to the dinner table. 

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The Wrap Up

Identifying pests should be a regular ritual, just like watering and delivering nutrients to your plants. When you keep them pest-free, all that hard growing work will hopefully pay off in healthy and efficacious plants. Once you’ve harvested, you can move on to other fun challenges like doing a proper cure for your cannabis harvest, and how to store your cannabis stash


How do you deal with pests in your cannabis grow? Share your techniques in the comments!

Photo Credit: ilovegrowingmarijuana (license)

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Connecticut

Governor of Connecticut Pushes For Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis In Budget Address

Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont proposed legalizing recreational cannabis in his budget address this week.

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Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont proposed legalizing recreational cannabis in his budget address this week.

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News

South Dakota Governor Delays Implementation of Medical Marijuana Initiative

It seems that Governor Kristi Noem isn’t quite done derailing voter-approved cannabis initiatives.

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It seems that Governor Kristi Noem isn’t quite done derailing voter-approved cannabis initiatives.

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