The US Government Is Asking For Citizens’ Opinions on Marijuana Laws


The US government is asking for citizens’ opinions on marijuana laws. And thousands are responding.

Yes, 4/20 is just around the corner. But before the festivities commence, consider sharing your thoughts about marijuana laws with the federal government, which is inviting “interested persons” to submit public comments on the issue up until April 23. As of Wednesday, more than 5,000 people already have… on the official record, at least.

Even that number—large as it may seem—is a bit misleading. It comes from a government website. The misinformation made it difficult for advocacy organizations to submit comments from supporters. Even using their own third-party submission outlets. NORML, which created one such tool, has received almost 10,000 additional comments. The comments will be printed and hand-delivered to the FDA. You can expect them before the April 23 deadline, Justin Strekal, NORML political director, told High Times.

Why Does the Federal Government Care About Your Weed Opinion All of a Sudden?

The comment period is managed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It was opened in an effort to gauge public sentiment about the legal status of marijuana. THCCBD, and other cannabis compounds were also covered. The comment period was followed by a World Health Organization-led review of international laws on those substances.

You might remember that the federal agency opened a similar comment period last year to get a sense of Americans’ thoughts about CBD.

But this is a bit different. The FDA wants input on whether marijuana itself—not just CBD—should be reclassified under international treaties that mandate strict prohibition among member countries, including the United States. If the World Health Organization loosens the rules on marijuana’s legal status, that could be a serious game changer.

Your Comments Matter. Here’s Why.

According to a summary of the request, the FDA wants “comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and the impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of five drug substances.”

“These comments will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs. WHO will use this information to consider whether to recommend that certain international restrictions be placed on these drugs.”

In other words, your comments could help inform the country’s position on international marijuana laws. The very laws that have perpetuated prohibition around the world.

How Are People Responding So Far?

It’s no secret that polling shows growing, majority support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. A quick glance at the public comments submitted so far clearly reflects that belief.

The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham tweeted Wednesday, after reviewing the first 50 of the more than 5,000 public comments, that “every single one of them was in support of rescheduling or legalizing marijuana.”


Final Hit: The US Government Is Asking For Citizens’ Opinions on Marijuana Laws

“It’s incredibly important that everyday Americans make their voices heard,” Strekal told us. “One of the reasons why America has the potential to be great is through an active and engaged citizenry—and at the end of the day, democracy is not supposed to be a spectator sport.”

“The process that we’re going through right now is merely a procedural process for the FDA to go through in order to compile their report back to the WHO regarding the exact scheduling of cannabis under international treaties,” he said.

“This is not even in regard to U.S. policy. This is a comment period for international policy—and the ramifications that that international policy has on providing cover for prohibitionist lawmakers and their sympathizer lawmakers to not reform our laws.”

Massachusetts Begins Cannabis Retail Licensing Process


More than a year after legalizing recreational marijuana, Massachusetts begins cannabis retail licensing process today. The state Cannabis Control Commission will be accepting applications for cannabis business licenses in anticipation of legal retail sales later this year. Massachusetts voters legalized recreational pot in 2016.

Activists and regulators alike are enthusiastic about the opening of the permit process. Lester Grinspoon is a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard. He has been a leader in the struggle for legal cannabis in Massachusetts since the 1970s. And at 89 years old, he wasn’t sure he’d be around to see it.

“I speculated this could happen, but I never dreamed that I would live to see it. It certainly is gratifying,” Grinspoon told the Boston Globe.

The progress also pleased Steve Hoffman, the chairman of the cannabis commission.


“It’s an exciting step. It’s starting to become real,” he said.

State Taking Applications In Three Phases

The Cannabis Control Commission will be accepting applications for cannabis business permits in three phases. The first phase includes existing medical marijuana dispensaries and companies known as “economic empowerment applicants.” These are businesses who employ, benefit, or are owned by members of communities disproportionally affected by the War on Drugs.

Jim Borghesani is a spokesman for Regulate Mass, an activist group working to have cannabis regulated like alcohol in Massachusetts. He told local media the state is giving these companies priority in an attempt to address and compensate for past inequities in enforcement.

“A lot of these are urban areas where people were adversely impacted by prohibition because of the disproportionate number of arrests for people of color compared with people who are Caucasian,” Borghesani said.

The commission will begin accepting applications for the first phase on April 16.


Cultivators and certain small business can then submit applications beginning May 1. Manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores can apply for their licenses starting on June 1.

Regulators expect that retail cannabis sales will begin in Massachusetts sometime after July 1.

It isn’t easy for a company to successfully navigate the state’s cannabis application process. Strict regulations require applicants to submit a minutely detailed operations plan.

“You have to show a good business plan, a level of security that’s acceptable to the Cannabis Control Commission, making sure there’s no diversion of product into the black market,” said Borghesani.

The process isn’t cheap, either. Applicants must pay $500 just to submit their paperwork. The licenses themselves run from $3,000 to $10,000 each. Borghesani added that cannabis business usually can not take advantage of traditional modes of financing.

“It’s a problem because it’s still illegal at the federal level, and banks are worried about losing their federal charter,” he said.

Final Hit: Massachusetts Begins Cannabis Retail Licensing Process

Some applicants have already begun t0 prepare for the application process, despite all the red tape. Norton Arbelzaez is the director of government affairs for New England Treatment Access. His company operates a growing operation in Franklin, Massachusetts and medical marijuana dispensaries in Brookline and Northampton. The firm has already prepared its application, he reports.

“We’ve got our incorporating documents, financial statements, operating agreements — all that stuff — ready to go,” he said.

What is BHO?


BHO stands for butane hash oil. It is a potent form of cannabis concentrates that comes in various consistencies including buddershatter, wax and more. The name comes from the fact that butane is the solvent used to extract the oils from cannabis.

There are dangers involved with using butane to extract, including a risk of explosion. Not to mention, any pesticides, mold or other contaminants that were in the processed weed will end up concentrated in the extract. This means there are risks to both extractors and consumers.

To ensure your safety, the task of making BHO is best left to experts with the proper materials and equipment. There are a lot of errors that can be made during the extraction process that will lead to contaminants in the extract even if the flower used was clean. So if you are a consumer, you’ll want to make sure your butane hash oil is coming from a reliable source.

How Is It Extracted?

Plant material is loaded into a tube and it is soaked in butane as a solvent to separate the oils out. However, there are more than one ways to make butane hash oil.

Open Blasting


 The Glass Underground


The original method of making BHO, which commercial extractors have stepped away from, is called open blasting.

Open blasting is an outdated technique that is considered both dangerous and wasteful. The danger comes from the fact that there is nothing to contain the flammable solvent. As a result, any ignition near where you are open blasting will result in a fiery explosion.



 Best Value Vacs

There are advantages of closed-loop systems other than having no openings for flammable gas to leak out of. All solvents are filled into a pressurized tank then attached to the extraction tube where all the plant materials are held. It’s worth noting that even though a closed-loop system is safer than open blasting, safety checks, precautions and measures must be taken to ensure nothing goes wrong. Seemingly small issues like a blown gasket can cause much larger issues.


The next advantage is the fact that solvents can be reused. Residual solvents collect in the recovery tank where they can be stored and recycled.

How To Consume It

Consider this a warning, if you are not a heavy cannabis consumer and you have no experience with cannabis concentrates, start slow. They call consuming extracts “doing a dab” for a reason. You only need a “dab” or a small amount to feel the potency.

The most common way to consume BHO is with the assistance of a torch flamedab rig and nail. Most modern concentrate users prefer low temp dabbing with the addition of a carb cap. E-nails are a great way to enjoy the advantages of low-temperature dabbing without the need for a torch or butane. An e-nail usually consists of two parts: the controller where you can adjust the temperature and the heating element that wraps around a nail.

When BHO first gained popularity, titanium nails were used to drop super hot dabs, seconds after the nail is torched. Since then, dabbing has evolved to more effectively vaporize cannabis oils with minimal compromise to the flavor.

Low Temp Dabbing


Low-temperature dabs involve getting your nail about as hot as can be and waiting for it to cool before dropping the extract in.

Depending on your specific nail and the amount of time you spent heating, you can wait anywhere from about 20 seconds to over a minute. It all depends on how much heat the nail can retain. Once the nail is cool enough to vaporize the oil without completely burning the terpenes and cannabinoids away instantly, it’s safe to drop the dab.

Add the carb cap once the extracts have melted onto the nail. If it was harsh and burnt tasting, with stickiness to your lips or teeth, you went in too hot. If it was smoother and more flavorful than a high-temperature dab, you did it right and there should be some leftover oil to Q-tip up. You have to constantly clean your nails if you want to keep the flavors prominent and maximize vaporization.

Quartz Insert



The next step in the evolution of low temp dabbing is the quartz insert. Quartz inserts take things a step further by forcing the concentrates to rapidly go from a low-temperature to a higher one. This allows you to experience cannabinoids and terpenes at a temperature that you previously couldn’t with a nail and cap alone.

Quartz inserts come in different shapes and sizes. The ones we are talking about are in the shape of cups that fit into any of the best quartz bangers on the market.

To taste as much of your terpenes as possible while maintaining a constant level of vaporization, we recommend trying the insert drop technique. Pre-fill the insert with your concentrate and set it aside.

Next, heat up the banger for about a minute all around. Depending on your bangers heat retention and the size of your dab, you can drop the insert in 5 to 30 seconds after you cut the torch flame. Bigger dabs should be dropped sooner. Wait a little longer on fresh nails with thick quartz.

Different Consistencies Of BHO

There are over a dozen different kinds of cannabis concentrates. Even if you use butane every time, the consistency of the material will vary. This is due to the material and techniques utilized during the extraction process. Many look like wax while others have a glassier appearance.



Oil is what we call the loosest consistency of butane hash oil. It’s sticky and only a bit thicker than a liquid. Oils that are slightly thicker than normal are called saps. Oils and saps are difficult to handle compared to other consistencies. As a result, they have become one of the least popular forms of BHO on the market.



Budder is a consistency that can be attained by introducing agitation during the extraction process. The name comes from the fact that it is similar in consistency to butter. It looks a little wet and it can be easily scooped and spread. There’s no real advantage to having a budder over a crumble or shatter. It all depends on preference. Wax pen users might prefer budder, crumble or shatter over a sappier oil.



Crumble is named after the fact that it crumbles like dry cheese when you scoop some. Everytime you scoop from a wad of crumble, tons of tiny bits that are harder to scoop up break off. Crumble easier to handle than oils but less desirable than budder and shatter.



Shatter is pretty much the only form of cannabis concentrate that can be handled without the assistance of a tool. The name comes from the fact that it shatters like glass. In fact, the real glassy stuff will end up breaking and flying off with a tool. Shatter can come in a looser “pull ‘n snap” consistency which is easier to handle with a tool.

Live Resin


Live resin concentrates are almost always made with butane. They differ from other extracts because of the material used. Nugs or trim that was just harvested and cryogenically frozen is used in the extraction process. They can take on different consistencies including THCa crystallinesauce, sugar, shatter and budder.

Final Hit: What Is Butane Hash Oil (BHO)?

Butane hash oil is the most common method of making cannabis extracts. Most of the concentrates on the shelves of dispensaries are made with it. If you’re not comfortable with consuming or working with hydrocarbons, there is a cheap, easy and non-explosive way to make dabs at home called the rosin technique. Extractors can also make hash without putting themselves at risk of physical harm. Combine the rosin technique with hash making techniques to end up with connoisseur-quality products like live rosin.

Arkansas Judge Considers Effort to Halt Marijuana Licenses


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge said Friday he’ll rule by the middle of next week on whether to allow the state to issue its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana after hearing complaints from an unsuccessful applicant challenging the permitting process.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen did not rule after hearing testimony from the state and Naturalis Health LLC, which wants the 95 applications for medical marijuana cultivation facilities to be re-scored by an independent evaluator. The Medical Marijuana Commission had planned to issue licenses to the top five applicants on Wednesday, but Griffen issued a temporary restraining order halting the process so he considered the request for a preliminary injunction.

“This is a potential billion dollar industry,” Keith Billingsley, an attorney for Naturalis, said during closing arguments. “Ninety-five people submitted applications and spent a lot of time, including my client, on this process assuming the state of Arkansas would get it right, that the state of Arkansas would conduct a blind examination of applications and that it would be done in a fair and impartial way.”

Naturalis ranked 38th out of the 95 applications submitted, state officials said.

Arkansas voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions. The commission is expected later this year to license up to 32 dispensaries to sell the drug.

The company’s lawsuit claims the process for scoring applications and awarding the licenses is flawed. The company also cites two potential conflicts of interest, including one commissioner whose law firm represents the owners of one of the facilities that was going to receive a license in non-marijuana related matters. The state, however, has said that the applications scored by the commissioners were redacted and did not include any identifying information about the applicants.

The state has also said Naturalis has not proved it would suffer irreparable harm if the state is allowed to award the licenses.

“The fact that they spent money to get ready for an application and they submitted an application that was a losing application and, if they were possibly scored again and they improved their ranks from 38th to one of the top five, they might then reap the return on their investment, those are speculative harms,” Deputy Attorney General Monty Baugh said.

Griffen earlier Friday also denied an effort by the state to dismiss the company’s complaint, rejecting arguments that Arkansas was immune from the lawsuit and that Naturalis did not have standing to sue.

Arkansas has approved more than 4,500 applications for patients to use medical marijuana and will issue registry cards about a month before the drug is expected to be available legally.

Michigan officials shutter 40 medical marijuana businesses across state


Forty medical marijuana businesses across Michigan got an unpleasant visit Thursday from state officials and the Michigan State Police, ordering them to stop operating.

And those visits are just the beginning. Hundreds more are expected to get cease and desist letters in the coming days.

The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs began the process of shutting down medical marijuana facilities that are operating illegally and haven't submitted applications to the state for a license.

"Any business that didn't apply for a license by Feb. 15 isn't in compliance with the emergency rules that were set up," said David Harns, spokesman for the department. "We did 40 today all throughout the state and there will be hundreds more."

Harns wouldn't say what kind of businesses got the cease and desist letters or how the state had identified them, but most were probably dispensaries that have been operating outside of Michigan's medical marijuana laws.

More: Detroit could miss out on millions from medical marijuana

More: Michigan towns poised to become medical marijuana hubs

The emergency rules "permits an applicant for a state operating license to temporarily operate a proposed marijuana facility under certain conditions," the cease and desist letter read. "In order to comply with this rule, a temporarily operating facility must have applied for a state operating license by February 15. ... A person that does not comply with this rule shall cease and desist operation of a proposed marijuana facility."


If the business owner doesn't shut down, he or she risks not being able to get a license at all from the state, the letter said, and could also result in a "referral to local, state, or federal law enforcement and other penalties or sanctions as provided in the MMFLA (Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act) and Emergency Rules."

When LARA and the Michigan State Police visited the businesses, they only delivered the cease and desist letter and did not confiscate any products from the businesses, said Harns.

Michigan voters passed a medical marijuana law in 2008 that allowed caregivers to grow up to 12 plants for each of five patients who had obtained medical marijuana cards. There are more than 277,000 people who have medical marijuana cards in the state.

Some of those caregivers banded together to set up dispensaries, some with the blessing of the communities where they were open for business. Others got busted, including many in Oakland County over the years, by police in towns that were more wary of the medical weed.

In 2016, the Legislature decided it needed to get a handle on the medical marijuana business and passed bills to regulate and tax medical marijuana. It's expected to be a lucrative business with revenues exceeding $700 million a year. That could rise even more dramatically if a proposal to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use gets on the November ballot and is passed by voters.

The state began accepting applications for licenses in December and is in the process of doing background checks on the business owners. The Medical Marijuana Licensing Board is meeting next Thursday and will begin considering some of the applications. But licenses aren't expected to be handed out until the board's April meeting.

The licenses are in five categories: growers, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters and dispensaries.

So far 378 applications have come in to pre-qualify for a license, which means that the business owners are going through the state background check, but still need to get approval from a town that has passed an ordinance allowing medical marijuana businesses. Another 117 applications — including 43 growers, 20 processors, 49 dispensaries, 2 secure transporters and 3 testing facilities — have been turned in that include approval from a local community.

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, or on Twitter @michpoligal.

Watch: California's marijuana market is expected to be bigger than beer


Recreational cannabis sales began at the start of the New Year in California, and the market is already expected to bring in billions in revenue this year. Veuer's Sam Berman has the full story.Buzz60

Massachusetts Commission Weighs ‘Cannabis Cafes’


BOSTON (AP) — Could Massachusetts become the first U.S. state where adults can gather and use legal recreational marijuana at so-called “cannabis cafes?”

The Cannabis Control Commission, the five-member panel set up to regulate the state’s marijuana industry, is expected to decide later this month whether to approve draft regulations that would allow for the licensing of social consumption establishments.

The idea has received strong opposition from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration and from law enforcement officials who warn of public safety and public health risks if such facilities were to open.

Baker has suggested the Commission at the very least hold off on licensing social operations until after the commercial pot industry is up and running later this year.

Some questions and answers about the controversy:

What’s meant by social consumption?

Simply put, it would be a place (other than a private residence) where adults could gather to buy and use marijuana legally.
While the voter-approved law legalized the sale and possession of recreational marijuana, it remains illegal to use pot in public places. That’s why any social consumption sites would have to be licensed by Massachusetts and adhere to guidelines.
Under the proposed regulations, the locations could not serve alcohol and must have rules to keep marijuana away from minors. They must also have a plan for transporting intoxicated patrons home safely.

What types of establishments are envisioned?

The Cannabis Control Commission’s draft regulations propose two types of social consumption licenses.
A primary use license would be required of any business that would derive more than half of its business from the sale of marijuana products. The term “cannabis cafe” is sometimes used to describe such an establishment: Think a coffee shop but one where you would order weed instead of a fresh brew.

Still unresolved, though, is whether smoking could be allowed at such establishments.

A mixed use license would be for a business that wants to sell marijuana as a sideline to its principle business. Examples could include restaurants wishing to add a marijuana-infused dish to its menu, movie theaters and even yoga studios.

Why is it controversial?

Baker argues that marijuana regulators already have their hands full in implementing the recreational pot law and should be focused on the licensing of retail pot shops and cultivation facilities by July 1.

Any of the more exotic, specialty licenses can wait until later, he contends.

“People should crawl before they walk and walk before they run,” Baker told reporters Monday.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo echoed the governor’s sentiments, but stopped well short of suggesting the Legislature would step in to prevent social consumption sites from opening.

Law enforcement officials, including the Massachusetts Association of District Attorneys, argue that social consumption sites would inevitably lead to more stoned drivers on the road and increase the chances of theft and diversion of the drug to the black market.

What do supporters say?

Proponents of cannabis cafes contend there is nothing extraordinary about the concept.

“Social sites will simply give cannabis users the same options available to alcohol users — and I have not heard Baker or DeLeo issue similar criticisms of those establishments,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Massachusetts chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Shaleen Title, an associate commissioner of the CCC, argued that such establishments would provide options for people who would rather not bring marijuana home because they have children, or non-approving family members or roommates.

What have other states done?

Social consumption has been a matter of discussion in nearly every U.S. state that has legalized recreational marijuana, but the proposed regulations in Massachusetts would go further than what any state has allowed so far.
In 2016, voters in Denver approved clubs where marijuana can be consumed on the premises. But a major difference is that such clubs — if and when they open — could not legally sell marijuana. Patrons would have to bring their own pot.
To find a global model for cannabis cafes, try Amsterdam, which has dozens of legal “coffeeshops” where patrons can buy and use marijuana.

California Cracking Down on Illegal Marijuana Businesses


Even with recreational weed fully legal in California, illegal marijuana businesses continue to thrive throughout the state. And authorities are not putting up with it anymore. According to reports coming out of The Golden State, authorities are beginning to respond to these illegal operations more forcibly. With California cracking down on illegal marijuana businesses, questions about the transition toward a legal cannabis market remain.

California’s Illegal Weed Businesses

California has pretty much always been one of the hottest weed spots in the nation. It’s home to legendary growing activity and has long been a relatively safe place to consume as many ounces of cannabis as one so desired.

When weed was illegal in California, the state had a strong black market for cannabis. In the age of legal weed, black market activity continues to live on in various ways. According to new reports coming from local media, there are still tons of illegal marijuana shops operating throughout the state.

For example, the Los Angeles Police Department claimed that there are hundreds of such shops in L.A. alone.

“We have several hundred, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 to 300, of what we believe are these unlawful and illegal establishments operating throughout the city,” said LAPD Deputy Chief John Sherman.


It appears that there is a wide range of factors making these shops illegal. For example, some of them may be operating without proper licensing. Similarly, some have been accused of failing to follow proper security protocols.

Whatever the offense, California law enforcement agencies appear to be cracking down on weed businesses they deem illegal. Last week, authorities in L.A. raided a shop that they said was operating illegally. During the raid, they arrested three people, one of whom was a security guard with an unlicensed firearm.

So far, cops in L.A. have identified 18 businesses that they say are definitely operating illegally.

Final Hit: California Cracking Down on Illegal Marijuana Businesses

The exact motives behind this crackdown are unclear. It could be a backlash against the growing acceptance and prevalence of cannabis throughout the state now that recreational weed is legal. As weed becomes legalized in more and more places, it often creates tension between those in favor of legalization and law enforcement who see cannabis as a problem.

On the other hand, the crackdown could be part of the sometimes-messy transition toward a fully legal cannabis market. When weed becomes legal, it eliminates much of the need for a black market. Despite this, the black market continues to exist, often falling under heightened scrutiny by law enforcement.


Whatever the case, the cannabis scene in California is in the middle of big-time changes. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since the 1990s.

But it wasn’t until 2016 that voters approved the legalization of recreational weed. The state’s recreational program, including full-scale recreational retail, went into effect the beginning of this year.

These legal changes have introduced a number of interesting tensions. Most recently, the city of Berkeley became a sanctuary city for recreational weed. A resolution that passed earlier this week stated the city of Berkeley will not cooperate with federal efforts to enforce laws against cannabis.

The decision comes largely in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In January, Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy that told federal agencies to take a “hands-off” approach to dealing with state cannabis laws.

Sessions’ move has worried lawmakers, business owners, and cannabis consumers, many of whom fear that it could open the door to a federal crackdown on all weed-legal states.

Can Marijuana Treat Postpartum Depression?


Can marijuana treat Postpartum Depression? This sadness, anxiety and sleeplessness that can follow childbirth affect many new mothers. Traditionally, healthcare providers prescribe antidepressants and psychotherapy. However, many are questioning the efficacy and safety of these treatments. Many new parents are asking, can marijuana treat postpartum depression? And what are the benefits and potential risks of cannabis treatment?

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

The symptoms of PPD include depression, irritability, inability to sleep and mood swings. Though it’s unclear what causes PPD, most attribute it to fluctuating hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone, and parental anxiety.

Classified as a major depressive disorder, PPD affects a minimum of 15% of mothers according to a study in the US National Library of Medicine. In real life, this figure is a lot higher. Many mothers feel guilty about experiencing PPD and do not report their symptoms.

What treatments are typically made available to women with PPD?


Doctors typically prescribe antidepressants for PPD. Most believe that there is little to no risk in taking anti-depressants during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Even when there is some risk, many advocate for their use anyway. Studies show that the threat that a depressed mother poses to a child’s development is often considered riskier than antidepressant medication.

Just because antidepressants are commonly prescribed doesn’t mean that they don’t pose a serious risk. A study published by the Department of Pediatric Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine in Germany found that Sertraline, a popular antidepressant, can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome and serotonergic over-stimulation when prescribed to breastfeeding mothers.


These conditions manifest in tremors, crying, sleep issues, fevers and sweating. In the study, these symptoms worsened until the mother stopped breastfeeding. Though this case was perhaps an outlier, these consequences should be cause for concern.

To make matters worse, doctors commonly give Sertraline to women with PPD because of its low transferability. What are the risks of even more powerful anti-depressants?

Another common treatment for PPD is therapy. Due to cost, time, and distance, however, therapy isn’t always a practical solution.

If therapy isn’t an option and antidepressants are dangerous but necessary, why breastfeed at all?

Today, it’s a common belief that breastfeeding is crucial to the mother and the baby’s health. In a study published by the University of Adelaide, researcher Dr. Grzeskowiak states, “breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mum herself, including a degree of protection against post-natal depression.”

He argues that it’s critical to breastfeeding through the sixth month. This study also found that 57% of women suffering from PPD who stopped taking antidepressants stopped breastfeeding before six months. Medication, though often necessary to continue the beneficial process of breastfeeding, poses a health threat.


A popular alternative to synthetic drugs, can marijuana treat postpartum depression?

Marijuana as an antidepressant


Cannabis is becoming an increasingly common treatment for depression. At Buffalo’s Institute on Addictions, senior researcher Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane found that “chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, leading to depression.”

Endocannabinoids are found in the human nervous system. They regulate mood, pain sensitivity, and other important bodily processes. These neurotransmitters are also found in weed.

Dr. Haj-Dahmane explains, “Using compounds derived from cannabis […] to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression.” Dr. Haj-Dahmane also points out, marijuana can be an effective tool for coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But is marijuana safe to use while breastfeeding?


Can marijuana treat postpartum depression? In short, smoking of any kind is inadvisable while pregnant or breastfeeding.


Just because more women are smoking marijuana during or after pregnancy does not mean that it is safe.

The danger is due to marijuana’s psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. If ingested while breastfeeding, THC can enter the baby’s bloodstream. Studies conducted in Pittsburgh and Ottawa maintain that THC affects a child’s long-term ability to read, focus and feel emotions.

This research focused on mothers who ingested THC while pregnant, not necessarily while breastfeeding.

Dr. Yasmin Hurd from Mount Sinai Hospital states, “Even early in development, marijuana is changing critical circuits and neurotransmitting receptors.” The consequences of transmitting THC to a baby can be significant and long-term.

You could argue that most of the research is about THC transfer during pregnancy. But as infants can also absorb THC through breast milk, we can assume, for now, that similar risks exist.

Dr. Tori Metz of the Denver Health Medical Center explains to The New York Times, “There is an increased perception of the safety of cannabis use, even in pregnancy, without data to say that it’s actually safe.”

Better to be safe when it comes to THC while breastfeeding.

Is CBD safe?

There is very little research on the effects of CBD use while breastfeeding. What we do know is that CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high.

CBD is also used to treat a variety of illnesses such as epilepsy, and it relieves pain, helps with PTSD and reduces inflammation. Additionally, children are increasingly using CBD to cope with serious illnesses.

Final Hit: Can Marijuana Treat Postpartum Depression?

To answer the question: can marijuana treat postpartum depression—potentially. If you’re not breastfeeding, consider talking to your doctor about consuming cannabis to alleviate depression and anxiety.

If you are breastfeeding and you want to use cannabis, stick to products derived exclusively from CBD but know that research is far from conclusive. We’ll have a clearer answer once we clear the smoke surrounding the benefits and disadvantages of medicinal marijuana.

And remember: if you suffer from postpartum depression, it’s not your fault. Don’t be ashamed to seek help and support.

How Many Dispensaries Are In Each State?


How many dispensaries are in each state? With 29 states that all have some form of legalized marijuana, the number of dispensaries in the country is rapidly increasing to serve existing and emerging markets. States like California have recently implemented their recreational marijuana laws. As a result, many old dispensaries have shut their doors and new ones have surfaced as companies await their license to sell. We used data from state governments with legalized marijuana to see how many dispensaries are in each state.

Recreational Marijuana State Dispensaries


With many states adopting recreational marijuana laws, the number of dispensaries countrywide is rapidly changing.


Dispensaries: 261

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana but not the first to go recreational. In 2016, California’s Proposition 64 passed, legalizing the sale of cannabis to adults. There are currently no businesses with full licenses to sell in California. However, temporary licenses are being awarded so retail cannabis is being distributed. According to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, there are currently 261 active temporary retail licenses to sell cannabis for adult use.



Dispensaries: 61

Nevada had their first medical marijuana dispensaries opened in 2015. Residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016. The laws went into effect on January 1st of 2017. Now, weed can be legally acquired at any of the 61 dispensaries listed on the state government’s website.


Dispensaries: 93

In 2014, Alaska voted to tax and regulate the legal production, sale and use of marijuana. A license search on the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development website yields 93 results for Oregon dispensaries.


Dispensaries: 560+

According to the Oregon government website, the number of approved licenses to marijuana retailers went from 213 in July 2016 to 560 by the end of January.

Washington – 103 retail stores

Dispensaries: 103 retail

Washington has had recreational marijuana for quite some time now so there are now many dispensaries in the state. According to Washington’s Department of Health website, there are currently 103 retail cannabis stores but many more “medically endorsed stores.” This means they have medical marijuana consultants on staff.


Dispensaries: 520


Colorado has by far, the largest number of dispensaries in any state. The Colorado Department of Revenue has a list of all the licensed recreational and medical marijuana dispensing centers. There are 520 recreational facilities with 505 medical ones as well.


Dispensaries: 19

On November 8th, 2016 Massachusetts became the first state on the East Coast to legalize cannabis. As of December 31, 2017, Massachusetts has 19 registered marijuana dispensaries around the state.

Medical Marijuana State Dispensaries


California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, about half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana. In states with strict laws, medical marijuana is limited to patients with truly debilitating conditions. Other states that allow a wider range of patients to register as medical marijuana patients and they have more dispensaries as a result.


Dispensaries: 8

8 total Medical Use of Marijuana Program Dispensaries

Maine joined Massachusetts in legalizing recreational marijuana on the East Coast. However, retailers currently have no way to get the required licenses. As a result, the only dispensaries in the state are only accessible to medical marijuana patients. There is currently 8 listed medical use of marijuana program dispensaries on the state government’s website.


Dispensaries: 100+

Arizona is one of the first states with a drive-thru dispensary. Unfortunately, they are one of the few states that keep their list of dispensaries confidentialto anyone other than registered medical marijuana patients that cannot grow their own marijuana in the state.

However, the number of dispensaries allowed in the state is somewhere between 120 and 126. The number of dispensary agents is public. There are 4,731 individuals that can distribute marijuana on behalf of a dispensary.

New Mexico

Dispensaries: 68

New Mexico’s medical marijuana law was signed in 2007. Since it’s been more than a decade, there are now many dispensaries for the state’s patients to choose from. The state has 12 manufacturers that distribute from their own dispensaries. Recent data shows a total of 68 dispensaries in New Mexico.


Dispensaries: 50+

Medical marijuana laws in Montana were signed in 2004. Only patients with severely debilitating or terminal conditions qualify for medical marijuana in the state. Despite this, the number of dispensaries in the state has gradually increased over the year. According to the Montana Department of Health, they cannot give information out about dispensaries. However, there are over fifty listed online.

North Dakota

Dispensaries: 0

The North Dakota medical marijuana law was only signed in 2016. The program is not yet operational and there are no current dispensaries. The program was supposed to go into effect on April 18, 2017. The earliest effective date for medical marijuana rules would be on April 1, 2018.


Dispensaries: 8

The Minnesota medical marijuana law was signed in 2014 and it is currently operational. Several state-licensed dispensaries have opened. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Health has eight locations listed on their website.


Dispensaries: 100+

Michigan is currently in the process of accepting medical marijuana business license applications but there are over 42,000 caregivers registered to supply cannabis. There are currently well over one hundred dispensaries listed online but they will close soon if they don’t receive a license when they’re distributed later this year.


Dispensaries: 53

Illinois is one of the states with a long list of qualifying conditions but they have a decent number of dispensaries. The medical marijuana laws in Illinois were signed in 2013. Since then, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation list 53 licensed dispensaries across the state.


Dispensaries: 0

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has yet to release the list of licensed dispensaries despite the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. There is a delay because the law only came into effect in 2016 and the program is still a work in progress. So far the Department of Finance and Administration has released a list of all the names and proposed locations of applicants.


Dispensaries: 0

The Louisiana medical marijuana program has yet to start. Worst of all, the number of doctors that are approved to issue a “physician recommendation form” can be counted on one hand. If all goes according to plan, the program will begin operating this summer.


Dispensaries: 27

Florida has medical marijuana laws but they are restrictive like the laws in other states like New York. Medical marijuana treatment center is the term for a dispensary in Florida. These centers are responsible for cultivating and processing the cannabis. Additionally, they sell to qualified medical marijuana patients. There are 27 dispensaries total listed on the state government’s website.


Dispensaries: 0

The Ohio medical marijuana laws were signed in 2016 but the program hasn’t started yet. The State Board of Pharmacy may award up to 60 dispensary licenses. So far, the board has received hundreds of applicants. There is no one to sell medical marijuana in the state yet. Unfortunately, patients will have to wait while the program starts handing out licenses to sell.

West Virginia

Dispensaries: 0

West Virginia signed their marijuana laws in 2016. As a result, the program is not yet operational. Therefore, there are no operating dispensaries in the state as of now. The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Program will release the application for dispensaries in the first quarter of 2018.


Dispensaries: 6

Six dispensaries received approval to start selling medical marijuana products once they are available. The only dispensary to have a grand opening is in Lehigh Valley. Unfortunately, they have no product. Therefore, patients won’t be able to make purchases until mid-February or later.


Dispensaries: 0

A judge temporarily halted the medical marijuana industry in Maryland on the request of a company that alleged state regulators ignored racial diversity when deciding who could grow legal cannabis. A trial in June will determine whether state regulators acted outside of the law when awarding the first fifteen preliminary licenses to grow. So, there will still be some time before Maryland sees its first operational medical marijuana dispensary.


Dispensaries: 2

Delaware currently only has two dispensaries owned by the same company. First State Compassion is currently the only provider of medical marijuana in Delaware and more are on the way.

New Jersey

Dispensaries: 5

New Jersey adopted their medical marijuana program rules in 2011. Since then, only a few dispensaries have opened up their doors in the state. In fact, the state currently has five operational medical marijuana dispensaries with more on the way.

New York

Dispensaries: 19

New York has one of the stricter medical marijuana programs for patients with debilitating conditions. In fact, there is no actual smokable cannabis available at dispensaries. However, other cannabis products are available at New York’s 19 registered medical marijuana dispensaries. More are opening soon which will more than double the number of dispensaries in the state.


Dispensaries: 4

Vermont has had medical marijuana laws since 2004. Despite the early start date, few dispensaries have opened in the state. More than a decade later, there are only four operational dispensaries located in Montpelier, Brandon, Burlington and Brattleboro.

New Hampshire

Dispensaries: 4

The Therapeutic Cannabis Program passed through the state legislature in 2013 but things have moved slowly since then. In fact, only a few dispensaries have opened up. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services lists 4 dispensaries or “alternative treatment centers.”


Dispensaries: 9

Medical marijuana laws in Connecticut came about in 2012 and not too many dispensaries have opened up since then. According to Connecticut’s official state website, there are 9 total medical marijuana dispensary facilities in the state. That will change soon because the state is looking for more medical marijuana dispensaries.

Rhode Island

Dispensaries: 3

Rhode Island medical marijuana patients can purchase their medicine at compassion centers around the state but there aren’t many. As expected with a small state the Rhode Island Department of Health website lists compassion centers in only Providence, Warwick and Portsmouth.

Washington D.C.

Dispensaries: 8

Washington D.C. has legalized recreational marijuana but there are currently only medical marijuana dispensers. There are eight medical dispensaries in the state total but most of them in the North East region.

Final Hit: How Many Dispensaries Are In Each State?

Since marijuana laws in several states have changed in recent years, the online listings of marijuana dispensaries in certain states are unreliable according to research.

“The online listings appear to be inaccurate. We only found 815 out of the listed 2,174 dispensaries were active. This is 37 percent of the listings,” Erick Eschker, co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research stated.

The number of how many dispensaries are in each state will change because a few states are currently working on implementing their programs. Once they are operational, the number of dispensaries nationwide will continue to increase.

Congress Just Extended Federal Medical Marijuana Protections


Congress just extended the federal medical marijuana protections known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, or the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. It happened early Friday morning when President Donald Trump signed a huge budget deal that brought a short federal shutdown to an end. But these temporary protections still face some uncertainty in the coming months. The latest spending plan only runs until the end of March. At that time, the medical marijuana community could become more volatile at the hands of the Department of Justice.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Keeps Going


The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents Attorney General Sessions from spending tax dollars to prosecute medical marijuana businesses and patients, has been a part of the federal budget for the past few years. In fact, this is the eighth time the rider has been renewed since 2015.

This temporary rider is the only document on the books that protects medical marijuana states. Without it, the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would have free rein to investigate, raid and prosecute all connections to statewide medical marijuana programs.

Congress Riding Same Budget Since 2015

This does not mean Congress has been giving medical marijuana serious consideration during budget talks. It has not. Since Rohrabacher-Farr has been a part of the federal budget for the past three years, it has been gliding on the coattails of the renewal process. Basically, since Congress has not approved a new budget since 2015, the federal medical marijuana protections keep living.

Similar riders have been proposed in the past, but none have ever been given the time of day.


Sessions Pressures Congress to Eliminate Federal Medical Marijuana Protections


It is distinctly possible that the medical marijuana debate will come to a head next month. The current protections are only good until March 23. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment must find its way inside a much larger budget to maintain. If it will survive the next round of negotiations is anyone’s guess. The protections are at risk for elimination. Attorney General Sessions has been pressuring both the House and Senate to ensure this happens.

It was just last year that Sessions sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking them to abandon support for Rohrabacher-Farr.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and a potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote last June. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Final Hit: Congress Just Extended Federal Medical Marijuana Protections

Congressional leadership will need to approve the language for inclusion in the new appropriations for the rider to stay intact. Although the Senate has shown some support, the House of Representative has been less than enthusiastic. As NORML political director Justin Strekal pointed out in his analysis, “The provision will now be considered by House and Senate leadership when the two chambers’ appropriations bills are reconciled, should Congress ever set a FY18 budget, of which is already over a third of the way behind us.”