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Riding to dispensaries and cultivation tours on weed-friendly buses, learning how to cook edibles, and playing in dab-and-disc-golf tournaments have all been activities featured in our weekly Cannabis Calendar, but cannabis-friendly paint classes seem to have found the strongest footing since the state legalized the plant in 2012. Just like a boozy painting session, instructors use cannabis to help lubricate their students’ creativity, helping them find their inner Bob Ross by painting portraits, nature and plenty of happy trees.

After operating in private venues and gray areas for over six years, cannabis classes and tours are now receiving official licensing through local and state measures that recognize social pot consumption. But Keila Castillo already had it figured out: She runs her cannabis painting class out of the Coffee Joint, the only licensed pot lounge under Denver’s social consumption program.

Hospitalizations from vaping have slowed significantly since the fall, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially linked vitamin E acetate, a vaping additive used to dilute nicotine and marijuana oils, to the vast majority of the illnesses reported. Although most of those cases stemmed from black market products, vaping liquid sold at regulated marijuana dispensaries has also been connected to several illnesses, with some THC vaping oils sold by dispensaries testing positive for vitamin E.

According to one cannabis laboratory, though, vitamin E acetate is a naturally occurring substance in virtually all plant products we use, which is why vaping oil manufacturers that don’t add the substance to their products have seen it show up in their test results. To learn more about naturally occurring vitamin E, we caught up with Frank Taylor, co-founder of cannabis testing facility AgriScience Labs.

The Coffee Joint, the first establishment to hold a cannabis consumption license in Denver, is now the second pot lounge business to apply for a state social consumption license.

Colorado Springs social lounge Studio A64 successfully applied for a social consumption license at the state Marijuana Enforcement Division office three hours before Coffee Joint owners Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov could beat them to it.

Studio A64 could not be reached for comment, but Tsalyuk and Merkulov say the opportunity to apply for a state license is a big step for all cannabis businesses. “This is bigger than us. It’s just a bigger step in the industry,” Tsalyuk explains. “It opens the door to do something different and plan ahead for the next year.”

When Alyssa Serpentini moved to Colorado twenty years ago, she didn’t just find a new home. She also found a new passion, establishing herself as an artist and sculptor by breaking cannabis stereotypes through an artistic medium.

“My goal was to show art in a different way,” Serpentini says. “Creating cannabis art that’s layered, lush and rich in colors makes it different than what you’re used to seeing. It’s different than seeing cannabis depicted in a psychedelic style, like most people imagine it.”

America’s vaping problem didn’t just surface in 2019 — it exploded. Well over 2,000 recorded cases of pulmonary illnesses related to vaping have been reported over the past several months, and four dozen of those have ended in death.

Many of these illnesses have been tied to black-market vaping products containing nicotine or cannabis oil, as well as potentially toxic chemical additives. However, there have also been reports of unsafe cannabis products in the regulated dispensary market, prompting Colorado to ban any marijuana vaping products with vitamin E acetate — a chemical linked to vaping illness by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — along with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil), two other chemical vaping additives.

No disrespect to strains from previous decades, but there’s no comparison between the potency of early chronic and today’s sugar-dipped space nuggets. I’m not saying that’s always a good thing — nowadays strains can be too strong for a simple afternoon toke — but we’d be fools not to recognize the evolution of cannabis. That’s like saying LeBron James wouldn’t dominate the NBA in the ’90s. Save those stale takes for the Moose Lodge.

During our recent conversation with hash-maker extraordinaire Kennn Wall, he talked about the need for stronger, sturdier strains for worthwhile cannabis extraction. According to Wall, only 5 to 10 percent of strains on the market today have the quality and quantity of trichomes to make those stiff, terpy rosins and live concentrates that connoisseurs love. Some of his favorite strains that do? Papaya cuts, specifically from Oni Seed Co. So what did I buy during my next trip to the dispensary? Papaya Cake, a mix of Papaya and Wedding Cake, bred from Oni Seeds.

Colorado has banned the state’s marijuana industry from adding vitamin E acetate, the chemical additive linked to vaping illnesses by federal health officials, to products meant for inhalation.

On November 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a potential culprit behind the recent vaping illnesses: vitamin E acetate. However, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division had already prohibited the additive as an ingredient days earlier, and also banned two more ingredients with connections to short- and long-term health issues. In addition to vitamin E acetate, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil) are now ruled out for marijuana products meant for inhalation.

Legal cannabis has spawned a litany of new and interesting careers, which is something writers are always in need of. One of the first scribes to see openings created by the plant was Katie Shapiro, known as “the world’s first marijuana style writer,” whose work has been featured in the Denver Post and Forbes; Shapiro also helped produce the documentary Rolling Papers, which followed the Post’s pot writing during Colorado’s first year of retail weed in 2014.

We caught up with Shapiro after she participated in a panel discussion about cannabis sustainability to learn more about her interesting career path, and how the style, fashion and overall culture of cannabis has evolved as the plant becomes more accepted by the mainstream.

The recent outbreak of lung illnesses connected to THC vaporization products is pushing the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division to implement new regulations that could include the prohibition of certain vaping additives in the regulated marketplace.

New rules banning the production and sale of cannabis vape products containing polyethylene glycol (PEG), vitamin E acetate and medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil) were proposed by the MED on October 7, according to the agency, with the proposed rules up for public discussion on Tuesday, October 15.

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