Tag: coronavirus

Utilizing More Oregon Cannabis These Days? You Are Not Alone.

There’s strong evidence that cannabis is being utilized more and more as people learn about a safer alternative to alcohol and opiates, but perhaps nothing is stronger than the record-breaking sales in Oregon. Cannabis sales have been strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic and there’s no sign of them slowing down anytime soon. Some thought that the all-time retail numbers would subside over time, but now economic analysts are considering that a cultural shift may be emerging and this could be an ongoing trend, not just a pandemic-inspired fad as Marijuana Moment reported:

“Marijuana sales continue to be strong,” Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis wrote in a quarterly revenue forecast published on Wednesday. “Since the pandemic began, the increase in recreational sales have been more than 30 percent above forecast.”

The increase tracks with other more established cannabis markets, such as those in Colorado, Washington and Nevada, which have also seen “strong gains” since the pandemic, the office said. “There are a number of likely reasons for these higher level of sales and expectations are that some of these increases will be permanent.”

Analysts also expressed a rosier outlook on the future of the state’s marijuana market than they did in last quarter’s report, which acknowledged a spike in sales since the pandemic began but concluded that business was eventually “expected to mellow” as incomes fell and bars reopened. Officials now forecast Oregon will see “somewhat more” in sales than previously projected.

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a rough year and it shouldn’t be surprising that folks have turned to cannabis for entertainment and medicine. With the COVID crisis, wildfires, sluggish economy, and political season, it’s understandable that people are finding a bit of bliss and enjoyment with some of the best cannabis in the world. It shouldn’t be that difficult to also consider that people that have turned to cannabis would stick with cannabis over alcohol and other drugs as they choose safer and less addictive substance.

When people are choosing their cannabis, I urge folks to do their research and support local, Oregon craft cannabis retailers, farms, and brands. When you venture into Kind Leaf, you’ll know that you are supporting a small business that gives back to the local community, puts public safety first, and does all that it can to feature other small Oregon businesses. Kind Leaf also has the best selection, great deals, and provides several discounts, including those for patients, seniors, and veterans. The first presidential debate is tonight, so you can expect 2020 political talk to heat up even more, so no one can blame you for stocking up.

The Conservative National Review: Legalize Cannabis to Stimulate Our Coronavirus-Decimated Economy

As someone that has been lobbying to end cannabis prohibition for about two decades now, I have always stressed how the issue goes beyond political demographics and partisan squabbles. During the Measure 91 legalization campaign, I was adamant about going on conservative radio programs and fighting for every vote in every corner of Oregon, not just running up the vote tally along the I-5 corridor.

There are liberal and conservative reasons for legalizing cannabis, making it one of the few “controversial” political issues that garners broad public support. Compassion, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurship can be supported regardless of your voting preference. Neither mainstream political party has fully embraced legalization like they should, unfortunately, and as Zoe Zorka, writes in the conservative National Review, our economy could use a boost during our coronavirus pandemic:

Sunk Costs and Missed Opportunities

Even before the pandemic, marijuana represented a massive untapped revenue stream for governments. Drawing on the most recent available data from a 2018 Cato Institute study, Dwight Blake of AmericanMarijuana.org estimated that the fiscal windfall that would be achieved through drug legalization could amount to $53.23 billion dollars in annual budgetary gains for federal, state, and local governments. For perspective, that’s enough money to cover the cost of treatment for 37,354,386 coronavirus patients, or the purchase of 357,248,332 twelve-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer or 2,681,500,000 face masks.

A Twofold Benefit

Those gains would come from two primary sources: decreases in money spent enforcing drug prohibitions and increases in tax revenue. As state, federal, and local officials look for ways to cut law-enforcement costs, an almost $43 billion reduction in the amount spent annually enforcing marijuana prohibition would be a huge help. Releasing nonviolent offenders convicted of minor marijuana charges from jail would alleviate the burden on an already-overburdened criminal-justice system. And expunging such offenders’ records would allow them to reintegrate into the labor market more smoothly, giving them a fairer chance to break the cycle of recidivism.

The New Small Business on the Block

Marijuana legalization wouldn’t just create a new opportunity for “sin taxes.” It also has significant potential to stimulate local economies by promoting small-business ownership and creating jobs for the almost 20 percent of Americans who are expected to be unemployed or underemployed following the pandemic, according to Paul Shea, who owns an Indiana-based seller of legal CBD products and says his “business is booming.”

It has been a shame that our federal elected officials have been lagging behind the people on cannabis legalization these past few years. Now, during our nation’s greatest crisis since World War II, it is almost criminal. Small businesses like Kind Leaf are helping revitalize communities across our country that have legalized under state law, but they are doing so with one economic hand tied behind their back. With unfair federal tax provisions and banking regulations, Uncle Sam is depriving Americans of much needed jobs and revenue during our worst economic climate since the Great Depression.

If drug policy activism has taught me anything, it’s that we can’t count on politicians to save us. No matter who wins federal office in 2020, it will be on the people to rise up and force the next Congress and president to put an end to the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition.

Be Kind, Be Safe, Wearing a Mask Required in All Oregon Businesses Starting July 1st

Kind Leaf has been at the forefront of consumer and public safety, long before the coronavirus pandemic, taking precautions that protect everyone, including a curbside, walk-up window. Now, every Oregon business is required to enforce mask wearing inside, as The Oregonian reported:

Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that she will require Oregonians to wear face masks everywhere in the state — not just in a handful of select counties — to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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The governor hinted that the new statewide requirement could be a last-ditch measure against surging numbers of new cases and hospitalized patients over the past month in Oregon. Repeatedly in recent weeks, Oregon has broken records for the number of new cases.

“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing,” she said in a news release. “If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public.”

Kind Leaf would like to remind its customers that wearing masks is now the law of the land, no different than checking identification, so please don’t take out the new mandate on them, or any or local business. Kind Leaf is a true Oregon-owned small business and is only following the rules required of everyone. A message from Kind Leaf that has been posted on its Facebook page:

👉🏼 We know, we know – but hey, we’ve been wearing them all along – just pretend you’re a ninja with the rest of us for the duration of the mask mandate. 😷

🎈If you do not want to wear a mask, you can totally place and online order and utilize our pick-up window – which actually gets you an extra 5% off your order- 🧾

☝🏼Please remember we are just doing as directed, our staff didn’t make the rules, but we do have to abide by them in order to remain in compliance with our regulatory requirements. 📋

✌🏼 Please do not provide our staff members with your personal political opinions – they are valuable, but others are waiting in line for our staffs time, if you would instead send an email to your state representative that would be amazing! 📝 🙌🏼

#BeKind

Kind Leaf
1733 SW Court Ave
Pendleton, Oregon
(541) 612-8588

You can order online and check out all of the great deals and products Kind Leaf has to offer on Leafly.

Cannabis Taxes Help Local Businesses and Residents During Coronavirus Crisis

Cannabis sales and tax revenue numbers are one of the few bright spots within an American economy that is reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. When you support craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, you are helping support your local community in many ways, from providing jobs to your neighbors to helping fund various social programs that benefit your city, county, and state.

Unfortunately, the global health crisis has caused an economic collapse unlike anything that we’ve seen since the Great Depression. While many industries wonder how they are going to survive, cannabis commerce appear poised to remain strong. As government’s look for solutions, utilizing cannabis tax revenue effectively should be a part of any sensible policy proposal. Trinidad, Colorado, implemented a rainy day fund to assist local businesses and residents, a program that should be an example for other governments to follow, as Westword reports:

The southern Colorado town, fewer than fifteen miles from the New Mexico border, has used $100,000 in marijuana tax revenue from Trinidad’s 25 dispensaries to provide utility stipends for residents, as well as $300,000 for rent and utility relief for local businesses and $100,000 for extra funding split between the town’s hospital and the Las Animas County Health Department to fight COVID-19.

Trinidad economic development coordinator Wally Wallace says that one-third of local marijuana tax revenue is set aside for a “rainy-day fund,” which has been flush over the last several years. After COVID-19 spread across Colorado, Trinidad staffers feared that a drop in tax revenue during the first quarter of 2020 was inevitable — but Trinidad dispensaries broke a sales record during that period, putting $853,000 in tax revenue at the city’s disposal right after statewide stay-home orders were implemented.

“We’ve been setting aside money for that rainy-day fund for a while, which has been fantastic. When COVID-19 came in, we were trying to figure out how to react and help our local businesses while the federal and state governments were still trying to do the same,” Wallace says. “We understand this pandemic is still going on, and we still might see some drastic changes. People maybe were panic buying early on, but that being said, we’re still shocked about the lines outside of dispensaries right now.”

Over 100 neighborhood businesses have been assisted by the relief fund and local residents can apply for up to $250 for help making utility payments during these trying times. As circumstances change over time, cities and states should adapt to various needs and be flexible with cannabis tax revenue. Of course, these officials should be doing all that they can to help the cannabis industry thrive, including adding their voices and resources to federal lobbying efforts around fair banking and tax laws.

When you shop at Kind Leaf, you get to select from the biggest and best selection in the Great Northwest AND you’re helping a small business that truly benefits the local community.

Oregon Cannabis Sales Up 60% During Coronavirus Pandemic

Oregon cannabis sales are stronger than ever. Many thought that the record-breaking first quarter sales might just be the result of consumers stocking up before businesses were ordered to close, but sales have flourished during the coronavirus pandemic. State fiscal analysts expect the industry to expect a bit of a decline, along with every other business sector as the state recovers from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 health crisis, but I think that these experts may be missing something.

From the Oregon Department of Administrative Services Economic Forecast:

Marijuana sales during the pandemic have been quite strong. The dollar amount of recreational sales since March 1st are up 60 percent relative to a year ago. These increases are not only related to the stockpiling consumers did after the sheltering in place policies were enacted, but have continued through April and early May.

Interestingly, the share of home delivery sales has more than doubled in recent months but remains just 1.4 percent of all sales. Consumers still prefer to shop in store.

Some of the increases in sales of usable marijuana are in part due to rising prices, but underlying demand is up as well. The increase in sales for other marijuana products, like concentrates, edibles and the like, are due to significant gains in consumer demand as prices are flat or down.

All told, marijuana available resources are revised higher by $9 million in 2019-21 due to recent sales. Expectations are that some of these increases are due to temporary factors like the one-time household recovery rebates, expanded unemployment insurance benefits, and the shelter in place style policies. As the impact of these programs fade in the months ahead, and bars and restaurants reopen to a larger degree, marijuana sales are expected to mellow.

Over the extended forecast horizon, marijuana sales are reduced approximately five percent relative to the previous forecast due to the lower economic outlook. A relatively smaller population indicates fewer potential customers and lower total personal income than previously assumed indicates less consumer demand, all things being equal.

What could the state experts (who have continually been too conservative with their projections) be missing that could allow cannabis sales to buck the downward economic trajectory expected to hinder all of Oregon? Two things: tourists and the fact that cannabis can replace other products that people buy. It’s hard to predict how many travellers will visit Oregon and state analysts have underestimated the number of tourists shopping at regulated cannabis stores.

While Americans will take fewer vacations during an economic recession or depression, Oregon could remain a sought out vacation spot as the state is relatively inexpensive compared to traveling to California and other more expensive locales. Additionally, with fewer people, including tourists, feeling comfortable packing into restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries, cannabis dispensaries could be more of a go-to stop for those visiting the Beaver State.

Finally, cannabis has been shown to decrease both alcohol sales and the use of prescription drugs. As more and more people start realizing that cannabis is a safer choice than most other substances, with fewer side effects (including hangovers), folks’ limited dollars could continue to flow into the cannabis industry, to the detriment of Big Alcohol and Big Pharma. Will the state experts be right or wrong, only time will tell, but Oregon’s analysts initially projected that the state would only bring in $40 million per year in cannabis tax revenue and the state more than doubled that amount last year and may just triple it in 2020.

While you are deciding on where to spend your hard-earned dollars, there is no better place than Kind Leaf for your cannabis needs. Kind Leaf offers pick-up, walk-in, and curbside delivery through Leafly online orders. And if you want to come into the store and peruse the best selection in the Great Northwest, you can count on Kind Leaf for great products, a knowledgeable staff, and top-notch safety precautions.

Canadian Study Examining if Cannabis Combats the Coronavirus

It can be extremely difficult following all of the news regarding cannabis or the coronavirus. Both impact many aspects of our lives and news breaks literally every day on a number of fronts. It only took a matter of time before the two subjects converged.

On the heels of a couple of Israeli studies looking into whether cannabis can help combat the coronavirus, a Canadian study has issued some early promising findings about the ability of high-CBD extracts to help prevent and treat COVID-19. The study hasn’t been peer-reviewed and more studies certainly need to be done, so no one should consider it as gospel, but early results appear to be encouraging as CTV reported:

Researchers at the University of Lethbridge say while clinical trials still need to be done, data they’ve been collecting over the past four years shows promise that some cannabis extracts may help in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Olga and Igor Kovalchuk have been working with cannabis since 2015, using varieties from around the world to create new hybrids and develop extracts that demonstrate certain therapeutic properties.

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The Kovalchuks say, based on the preliminary data and pending further investigations, anti-inflammatory high-CBD cannabis extracts can modulate the levels of the receptors in highly relevant tissues, such as the mouth, lungs and intestinal cells.

The preliminary study states that:

 While our most effective extracts require further large-scale validation, our study is crucial for the future analysis of the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19. The extracts of our most successful and novel high CBD C. sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy. They can be used to develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and at-home use. Such products ought to be tested for their potential to decrease viral entry via the oral mucosa. Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.

Of course, one should follow medical advice that doesn’t come from a health professional, so no one should think that they can just smoke cannabis, high-CBD or otherwise, and believe that they will be 100% safe from the coronavirus. However, it is nice to have some positive news about preventing or treating COVID-19, even if more research needs to be done. Fingers crossed that we find good medicines, whether from cannabis or anywhere else.

Oregon Breaks Monthly Cannabis Sales Records Two Months in a Row

The coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc across the globe, overwhelming healthcare systems and social service programs while decimating economies. Our society hasn’t experienced a similar disruption since World War II and we haven’t seen a reduction in economic activity like this since the Great Depression. Here in Oregon, the unemployment rate has surged to over 14% and Governor Kate Brown has ordered all agencies to prepare for budget cuts of 17% across the board. One bright spot for the economy: cannabis.

Oregon’s cannabis industry had its best first quarter of sales through the first three months of 2020, but it was unknown if robust commerce would continue during the COVID-19 pandemic or whether the first three months were buoyed by folks just stocking up. Well, the evidence is in and the first two months of quarantine living in the Beaver State led to new sales records.

The Willamette Week reported on the record breaking sales in March:

Sales data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission show Oregonians bought $84.5 million worth of cannabis products in March—the most in a single month since the state legalized recreational use in 2015. The previous record, set in July 2019, was just shy of $80 million.

The March number is a 37 percent increase from this time last year. Sales per retailer averaged out to $135,000, a 30 percent jump.

Flower accounted for more than half of total sales, while concentrates and extracts made up the second-highest market share.

KGW covered April’s sales that surpassed the recording breaking numbers from just a month earlier:

There is one bright spot in the economy: marijuana sales.

In April, Oregon saw $89 million in legal marijuana sales. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission reports marijuana sales were up 45% in April, compared to last year, making April 2020 the largest month on record for the state.

Proponents believe the coronavirus pandemic could be the catalyst for other states and the federal government to legalize marijuana because it would bring tax revenue, create jobs and give the economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

There is a lot of work left to be done, but it is rather remarkable how far the Oregon cannabis industry has come since voters passed the Measure 91 legalization law with over 56% of the vote. Hamstrung by a rare-for-Oregon sales tax, a lack of banking services, unfair federal taxation, and the coronavirus pandemic, enterprising entrepreneurs and hard-working budtenders, farmers, processors, and other industry employees, have created a business sector that the cannabis community can be proud of.

With 69% of Oregon voters understanding that legalization has been a success, the future is bright for the Beaver State’s cannabis industry. By supporting craft cannabis boutique’s like Kind Leaf, you are providing a boos to our local economy and helping build one of the few flourishing business sectors in the state.

 

As Oregon Reopens,Count on Kind Leaf. Coming Soon: Curbside Window!

Oregon, like many states across the nation, is starting the process of opening more businesses back up after closing down non-essential businesses to stymie the spread of the coronavirus. The Beaver State has done relatively well flattening the curve and a vast majority of counties applied to reopen their local economies with proper guidelines that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of the timing of this blog, 28 counties have received approval from Governor Kate Brown to move into Phase 1 of reopening businesses tomorrow, May 15th. Umatilla, home county for Pendleton’s Kind Leaf is one of those counties.

As The Oregonian reported counties must have met various standards for Phase 1 approval:

Benchmarks counties must meet include declining levels of COVID-19 hospital admissions over a 14-day period; minimum levels of testing and contact tracing capacity; adequate hospital surge capacity, quarantine facilities and personal protection equipment; and finalized sector guidelines from the state to communicate to individual businesses.

Under Phase 1, depending upon the business, Oregon is mandating 6 feet social distancing requirements, occupancy limits, masks worn by employees, customer logs, etc. As always, you can always count on Kind Leaf to put the safety of their community before maximizing profits, and Umatilla County entering Phase 1 doesn’t change that at all. However, hours will be returning to normal on Friday, May 15th, from 8am to 10pm.

Before this pandemic, Kind Leaf prided itself on being Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, with the best selection, and a knowledgeable staff. During this health crisis, the quality of products and service hasn’t changed, but the Kind Leaf family has been determined to keep everyone, employees, vendors, customers, and everyone’s loved ones, as safe as possible, installing partitions and enacting many safety guidelines.

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Coming soon, Kind Leaf is taking safety precautions and efficiency innovations to a new level with a curbside window. You will still be able to order for curbside pickup (order online through Leafly), or come into the store (with safety precautions), but you will also have the option of going up to the curbside window. As the state opens up, it’ll be time to celebrate each and every positive step responsibly. There’s no better place to secure top-notch cannabis and cannabis products than at Kind Leaf. Now, more than ever, #BeKind.

Kind Leaf Curbside Window

Coming soon!

Get ready for a new form of pick-up at Kind Leaf – our friends at Metcalf Painting & Contracting came through and helped us make the conversion –

Now instead of having to come all the way inside for your pick-up order you can experiencing maximum #socialdistancing while picking up your preorder – this is modified curbside pickup!

#BeKind

Kind Leaf
1733 SW Court Ave
Pendleton, Oregon
(541) 612-8588
Online ordering via Leafly

Cannabis Banking Access a Part of U.S. House Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

The coronavirus pandemic has placed a strain on the United States economy that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment has skyrocketed, and even as businesses start opening back up, there’s no guarantee that customers are going to have the money to shop like they used to or are going to be willing to risk COVID-19 infection by venturing into public spaces as much. Cannabis businesses, deemed essential in legal states across the nation, have been doing good sales numbers, but the many arbitrary obstacles that have stifled the industry remain.

One of the major issues, banking access, could be addressed in the next coronavirus stimulus bill, as Marijuana Moment reports:

House leadership unveiled a coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday that includes provisions to protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.

Advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers have been pushing for some form of cannabis reform to be inserted into COVID-19 legislation. And this round, they were successful, with the language of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act making the cut.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), chief sponsor of the standalone bill that is being included in the new broad package, previously raised the issue in a Democratic Caucus meeting and said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supported it.

With national politics being what is is today, there’s no telling if the cannabis banking language will remain in the legislation, or if another coronavirus relief bill will even get passed, but this is a good step in the right direction for the cannabis industry. The lack of ordinary banking services impacts not only cannabis businesses like Kind Leaf, but all of their vendors and employees.

The extra fees and costs then ultimately increase the prices that patients and customers pay. Please contact your representative and then spread the word and have your friends and family do the same. Whether you support cannabis businesses or not, everyone should support their access to ordinary banking services to improve community safety and the ability to pay taxes efficiently.

Treating Coronavirus with Cannabis Based Medicines Being Tested in Israel

As the coronavirus pandemic continues around the globe, a certain dichotomy is emerging. The COVID-19 threat is still real, especially in the United States, with our infections surpassing a million people and our deaths surging over 70,000, but economies are starting to open back up in various states and around the world.

Many Americans are going to be forced back to work before medical experts agree that it is safe to do so, as the $1,200 stimulus checks and unemployment benefits dry up. We are left wondering how are we going to manage our new capitalist reality. Some studies in Israel are testing whether cannabis-based medicines may be a part of the answer.

The Jewish Connecticut Ledger reports that Stero Biotechs has launched a study to determine the safety and efficacy of a steroid-Cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of patients hospitalized due to the coronavirus:

Ten patients will be in the clinical trial; the treatment cycle will be for a few weeks with a follow-up period of the same length. Pending the trial’s success, the company plans to expand to a multi-center clinical trial with an additional 40 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, under FDA clinical trial guidelines and regulations.

“We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are suffering life-threatening conditions,” said Stero Biotechs founder and CEO David Bassa.

“Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are mostly being treated with steroids, and our study is planned to demonstrate the benefit of a combined solution with steroid treatments,” he continued. “We are hopeful that this study will lead to faster benefit for the growing number of COVID-19 patients in Israel and around the world.”

According to Merry Jane, a rather unique study is being conducted via a collaboration between  InnoCan Pharma and the University of Tel Aviv:

The treatment will deliver CBD through exosomes. Exosomes are cell structures created by stem cells when they multiply. In other words, InnoCan and the university anticipate that the exosomes will act like “homing missiles,” targeting specific cells damaged by COVID-19. The CBD will go to those cells and those cells only.

How could CBD, a non-intoxicating component of weed potentially treat COVID-19? The illness triggers a severe form of pneumonia, which can cause respiratory failure. Although older patients who also have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are obese are the highest-risk groups for dying from COVID-19, younger, healthier people can die from it, too.

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Right now, doctors around the world can control or even stop the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients with heavy use of steroids, which can knock down the immune system. Numerous studies have shown that CBD can also dial down the body’s immune response, but it does so through different means than steroids do. The idea is that if doctors can double-up with both CBD and steroids, they’ll hit COVID-19 with a double-whammy of anti-inflammation, potentially saving far more lives than they could with steroids alone.

We are obviously living in scary times and most of us are unfortunately going to be forced to make some frightening choices about how we start to reopen our lives to both work and recreation. If you or your loved ones have been personally impacted by the coronavirus as my family has, or you are worried about yourself or your loved ones due to age and preexisting conditions, you may have a different perspective than those that are healthy and don’t live near anyone severely at risk.

Personally, I urge everyone to listen to medical professionals and experts and not those making unsubstantiated claims about hoaxes or miracle cures (even if that miracle cure is supposedly cannabis). Let’s be kind to one another and respect people’s health and legitimate choices. Hopefully, there will be medicines discovered on the horizon that we can trust to treat the coronavirus. I, for one, am no doctor or medical expert, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a cannabis-based medicine is found to beneficial.