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The Coffee Joint’s most recent CannaCoding session featured industry professionals from Cannopy, Vangst and Flowhub.

The first rule of cannabis coding: well, there are no rules…yet. Legal cannabis is still very much the digital Wild West for coders.

The Coffee Joint, Denver’s only licensed pot lounge, has been hosting a series of sessions called CannaCoding, bringing industry professionals and prospective cannabis coders together to talk about the developing trade. 

The moment the hemp industry has been waiting for finally happened: President Donald Trump just signed the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing industrial hemp in the United States.

Although highly anticipated after congressional approval last week, full-scale hemp legalization wasn’t official until Trump signed the Farm Bill, a set of agricultural policies voted on every five years or so. Spurred by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the 2018 bill’s hemp provisions catapult the plant’s farming opportunities from state pilot programs to a nationwide scale by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and treating it like an agricultural product.

The forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have much larger implications for where Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump is heading, but ousting ol’ Jeffy was a score for the marijuana industry.

Sessions has a long history of hating the plant, and the hits kept coming during his short time as AG. In the ’80s, he’d said that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan “were okay until I found out they smoked pot.” That didn’t stop Trump from appointing Sessions to AG in 2017, however, and that’s when the real madness began.

Amendment X, a ballot measure that takes industrial hemp out of the Colorado Constitution, passed by a narrow margin on Tuesday, November 6. The proposal needed 55 percent approval from voters to succeed, and it currently sits at slightly over 60 percent, with more than 90 percent of the state’s votes counted.

Colorado was the only state in the country to have industrial hemp defined in its constitution, but a large portion of the hemp industry believed that definition was going to prove more of a hindrance than a help. The Colorado Constitution currently defines hemp as a marijuana plant containing no more than 0.3 percent THC; anything over that threshold is considered marijuana by the State of Colorado.

Colorado’s cannabis industry is still changing at a rapid pace. The industry’s watchdog, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, updates its rules and regulations every year in hopes of catching up with the expanding field, which is growing like a weed in more ways than one.

The MED’s annual meetings aren’t unique to cannabis; plenty of regulatory agencies update their rules each year. But governing a federally illegal industry that is continually developing new methods for ingestion, packaging and product extraction takes a lot of work. That’s why the MED held six stakeholder meetings over the summer and into the fall, with public health and regulatory officials, industry members, law enforcement representatives and other individuals that make up Colorado’s legal cannabis picture.

Matthew Kind can’t do many interviews past noon. Next month, he might have to shut off even earlier, depending on which time zone he’s in. Such restrictions are usually avoided by talk-show hosts, who stick closely to standard production deadlines in order to consistently churn out content. Yet Kind’s ever-evolving itinerary is exactly why he chose this line of work.

The host of the CannaInsider Podcast and his family of four have lived in nearly a dozen countries throughout Europe and North America since 2016, thanks largely to a substance that would get him arrested at most international borders: His weekly podcast, which he hosts remotely with the help of his wife, Bethany, focuses on business and industry trends in cannabis.

The Marijuana Industry Group has helped the Colorado cannabis business develop into an awesome revenue machine that generates sales measured in the billions. But behind the scenes, MIG is embroiled in dueling Denver District Court lawsuits that pit the organization against Michael Elliott, its former executive director, in a fight that’s witheringly nasty.

Elliot’s complaint maintains that he was fired from his gig in June 2016 due largely to fallout from his rejection of sexual advances from a contract employee with the group. A few months later, he filed discrimination charges against the group with the Colorado Civil Rights Division — a prerequisite to a lawsuit, which was eventually filed in September 2017. But by then, MIG had already sued Elliott, arguing that he’d been sacked for misappropriating funds, among other things, and later retaliated by cooking up a fictional sexual harassment story that he then used in an unsuccessful effort to extort as much as $300,000.

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