Here is our week’s roundup of the most remarkable developments on the state of cannabis in America, including: Cannabis-infused coffee, celebrity-branded cannabis and a charity that will help patients get high.
#1 Now Serving Cannabis Coffee, but will Road Accidents Increase?
Brewbudz, a company in San Diego, is planning to sell single-serve coffee pods infused with cannabis to help people start their day with a bang.
The coffee pods will come in two different varieties: one recreational and another medical. The recreational pod will contain 10 milligrams of THC while the medical pod will contain 50 milligrams.
There could be significant risk involved in drinking cannabis-infused coffee first thing in the morning.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabis can significantly impair judgment, motor coordination and reaction time.
Using cannabis is significantly safer than using alcohol, so if people who normally drink and drive switch over to cannabis traffic accidents might fall, according to Live Science.
Talking to Live Science, Benjamin Hansen, economist at University of Oregon, said:
“They’ll drive slower, they’ll follow cars at greater distances, they’ll take some actions that at least somewhat offset the fact that they’re impaired.”
Starting in January the cannabis-infused coffee pods will be available for purchase in Nevada and Colorado, but should be available in Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona by March.
#2 Is Florida America’s New Home for Medical Marijuana?
A report is predicting that by 2020 Florida could become the second largest market for medical marijuana in the U.S., behind California.
According to the new research, Florida could grab up to 14 percent of the medical marijuana market in the U.S., generating $1.6 billion in sales by year 2020.
November 8 saw the state vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana for a wide range of illnesses, such as cancer, epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
The big unknown is just how quickly Florida’s elderly population will warm to the idea of medical marijuana. Over 17 percent of the population of Florida is aged 65 and over.
John Kagia, New Frontier, said:
“We would caution that (the elderly) is a population that may not necessarily have had a lot of exposure to cannabis in its modern from, nor would they have exposure to medical cannabis as a therapy.”
There is good reason to think that cannabis use amongst the elderly is on the rise.
Researchers at New York University found that between 2006 and 2013 there was a 71 percent increase in the use of cannabis by adults, especially those aged 50 to 64.
#3 Cannabis Startup Makes it Easier for Elderly to Use Drug
Startup Octavia Wellness is making it easier for the elderly to access and use medical marijuana.
While people are aware that cannabis can be smoked, use of medical marijuana takes other forms, such as edibles, oils, vaporizers, ointments, and more.
Carrie Tice, founder of Octavia Wellness, told Quartz that she was inspired to quit her old job at game developer Ubisoft after she saw how effective cannabis was in treating her mother’s Alzheimer’s.
Tice told Quartz:
“The change in my mom was so remarkable that I wanted to shout it from the mountaintops.”
Octavia Wellness has held gatherings at care facilities where elderly patients are instructed on correct marijuana use.
Half of all legal sales of cannabis in the U.S. happen in California and the state is on track to generate $6.5 billion in revenue by 2020, according to The Cannabist.
#4 Is Celebrity Branding the Future of the Cannabis Industry?
Anita Thompson, widow of renowned American journalist Hunter S. Thompson is looking to enter the world of celebrity-branded cannabis using her late husbands preserved stash.
The widow is in the process of having her late husband’s cannabis examined to determine its exact DNA strain. Once the exact strain is known it can be regrown for commercial sale, under the Gonzo brand.
Hunter S. Thompson will not be the first celebrity to have a brand of cannabis named after him. Snoop Dog, Willie Nelson and Wiz Khalifa all endorse cannabis and cannabis-related products.
However, not everyone is happy about this surge in celebrity-branded cannabis. Alex Canto, owner of dispensary Diego Pellicer, told Forbes that while his older customers appreciate official branding because they feel it is more trustworthy, his younger customers are turned off by it.
Some celebrities are more hands on than others when it comes to their product-lines. Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dog personally test all products with their name on before giving approval for sale.
#5 Medical Marijuana too Expensive? Charity Lends a Helping Hand
For those struggling to afford medical marijuana, Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) might soon be able to help.
WACA hope to set up a fund by spring 2017. Patients will be able to apply if they have authorization from a medical professional and if accepted will be able to use the funding to purchase medical marijuana.
Patients in the U.S. who are entitled to medical marijuana are struggling to access it.
Vicki Christophersen, executive director of WACA, said, “People don’t have access to the same kinds of opportunities to get assistance for their medicine.”
“We heard, and have been hearing from patients – legitimate patients who have an authorization – there are people having a difficult time accessing their medications.”
Christophersen told The News Tribune that anyone will be able to donate money to the fund.