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john_lord_2018_headshotCourtesy of LivWell

Since legal sales of recreational cannabis started in Colorado on January 1, 2014, some potrepreneurs have done very well. As owner of LivWell Enlightened Health, one of the state’s (and country’s) largest dispensary chains, John Lord looks up to few in the world of legal cannabis.

The New Zealand native has guided the growth of his company to include fourteen Colorado pot shops, as well as a dispensary in Oregon and partnerships in Canada’s emerging legal market. The first licensed pot business to feature Snoop Dogg’s branded cannabis line, LivWell is no stranger to putting itself out there, so we hit up Lord to see what his team has been up to.

colorado.legalization.of.marijuana.police.images.800PoliceFoundation.org

Even as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, is working with the office of Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to craft legislation designed to protect states that have legalized cannabis sales from federal interference, the organization is making a new push to have marijuana removed from the Controlled Substances Act, a process known as de-scheduling.

Exhibit A: In recent weeks, NORML submitted over 10,000 written requests that marijuana be de-scheduled to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which had asked for comments in conjunction with a review of cannabis’s international classification currently being conducted by the World Health Organization.

Toke of the Town is joining forces with one of the Internet’s best cannabis guides to give consumers and marijuana businesses greater access to a national platform of online resources.

Toke’s parent company, Voice Media Group, owns and operates the cutting-edge digital advertising agency V Digital Services and publishes an array of iconic print newspapers and websites, including Phoenix New Times, Denver Westword and Miami New Times. In 2017, V Digital Services posted 40 percent year-over-year growth and was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S.

Our new partners at Herban Planet publish one of the most comprehensive online cannabis guides, offering a one-stop ecosystem for cannabis producers, business owners, consumers, medical professionals, patients, caregivers and activists. Now Herban Planet’s content will be available directly from Toke of the Town – see the nifty link at the righthand side of our top navigation bar. We’ll also be linking to Herban Planet from from the websites of VMG’s core branded properties, putting a vast nationwide marijuana database at our readers’ fingertips.

VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias notes that VMG and Herban Planet are already leaders in providing readers, consumers and businesspeople with information about the cannabis industry. And thanks to its decades of doing business in major markets across the country, VMG brings something else to the mix: Hundreds of long-established relationships with business owners, dispensary owners, cultivators and leading figures in the industry. Those carefully nurtured local, regional and national relationships should accelerate growth of Herban Planet’s market share.

Denver Westword was the first publication in the country to hire a marijuana reporter and is known for its expert coverage of the industry. And V Digital Services has long specialized in helping marijuana businesses maximize their digital footprint through its work with Marijuana Marketing Xperts.

As a division of VDS, industry-leading MMX has the advantage of focusing solely on marketing for the marijuana industry and helping business owners in the rapidly growing field devise smart digital strategies designed to increase web and mobile presence, generate leads to expand their customer base, and navigate a maze of legal restrictions and regulations. Equally unique is its programmatic advertising network for cannabis, a pioneering technology specially engineered to engage audiences interested in medical and recreational marijuana.

Combining Herban Planet’s thriving web platform with VMG’s technology, marketing and media muscle is the goal of the new partnership, says Tobias. “Joining with Herban Planet to help grow a national marijuana platform made perfect sense,” he adds. “We are very excited about this partnership.”

Herban Planet founder and chief executive officer Babak Motamedi says he’s also excited about the synergies made possible by the partnership. VDS marketing services will now be available to Herban Planet customers at preferred prices, and the companies will also continue to explore additional content-sharing opportunities on their websites.

“People in the industry have a choice between platforms,” says Motamedi. “Now Herban Planet will be powered by a multi-market media company, so obviously we will have broader reach. We think we can really change the industry, both in terms of connectivity and bringing it more mainstream.”

Danielle Lirette

A new study of Colorado’s legal cannabis industry found that most of its employees were high on their jobs, but also concluded that a sizable portion of those employees were high at their jobs.

Conducted by the Colorado State University Department of Psychology and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the project surveyed around 200 cannabis employees at companies along the Front Range that work directly with the plant, and the results are surprisingly candid.

Courtesy of the National Cannabis Industry Association

Lagunitas Brewing Company is one of the five largest craft-beer companies in the country, and founder and CEO Tony Magee says a lot of that has to do with culture. A big part of the Lagunitas culture is the drug test. “We have a drug-testing policy: You have to test pot,” he told a laughing crowd at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Seed to Sale Show on Wednesday, February 7. “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to try it again.”

broken hash oil cartridgeHerbert Fuego

No matter how many times we refer readers to earlier Ask a Stoner columns, we still get bombarded with emails and phone calls from users asking what to do with their broken hash-oil cartridges.

We agree – broken cartridges are a fucking problem. And it’s not just broken cartridges, either: Other than O.penVape (about which many of you have your own opinions), no brand in the pre-filled cartridge arena has been able to sustain a reliable shelf presence, much less offer trustworthy packaging and universal compatibility with vaporizer batteries. All of these gaps result can in a lot of unusable hash oil. And so can broken cartridges.

The Green Solution co-ownerThe Green Solution

Today, The Green Solution is one of Colorado’s largest marijuana dispensary chains, and it’s expanded into four other states so far, with big plans for future growth. But co-founder and CEO Kyle Speidell, who recently spoke to us about the launch of Blazin’ Hit Radio , the ambitious new online home of former KS 107.5 favorites Larry and Kathie J, who are hosting a welcome-back party for listeners on Friday, September 22 (details below), notes that TGS is, at its heart, a family affair. Indeed, he and his three brothers have helped develop the operation over the past seven years into what seems poised to become a signature cannabis business from coast to coast.

ile photo by Susan Slade Sanchez/L.A. Weekly

In a proposal that was widely panned by pot shops and legalization advocates, the city in June revealed possible regulations for Los Angeles cannabis businesses that would have continued the problematic policy of treating even the most legit enterprises with “limited legal immunity.”

Many cannabis folks were up in arms. Voters in March approved Proposition M, which was pitched as an initiative that would finally grant licenses to weed sellers and producers. But the measure ultimately left the fine print up to City Hall. The groups representing collectives in town opposed the limited-immunity approach in proposed regulations forwarded as a way to implement M. This week, City Council president Herb Wesson submitted additions to those regulations that would endorse full licenses for pot businesses.

Ellementa

Ellementa, a startup dedicated to building a network for women interested in cannabis wellness, just started its Denver chapter in June, but already its Mile High meetings are as comfortable — and energizing — as a coffee klatsch.

On July 12, a dozen women gathered in a room at the uber-hip Galvanize building at 1644 Platte Street for a conversation about cannabis led by Ellementa Denver organizer Ashley Kingsley. Ellementa got its start in Alaska; Denver was its first branch, and it now has one in Chicago. “There was nowhere women could go and talk intimately about cannabis,” Kingsley says. There were places they could go to talk business, of course, but not about more intimate details, she notes.

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