Tag: COVID-19

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.

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.

Credit Unions Join the Call for Cannabis Industry Coronavirus Assistance

The cannabis industry has become too intertwined within our society and economy to continue this second-class treatment of lacking access to banking and other services that are available to other business sectors, even those not deemed as “essential” to our local economies. Essential cannabis workers are risking their lives like grocery clerks and other crucial employees keeping some semblance of our economy going and it’s past time that they start getting treated with some type of fairness. Of course, cannabis trade groups have been clamoring for some equality, but now, credit unions are joining the fray, in another step forward for the burgeoning industry.

Marijuana Moment reported:

In a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday, the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH), Policy Center for Public Health and Safety and 28 partnering groups and financial institutions noted that the marijuana industry and ancillary businesses that work with state-legal cannabis markets are specifically excluded from loans and lending programs provided for under several packages of COVID-19 legislation that have been approved.

To that end, the coalition made two recommendations: 1) issue pandemic relief block grants for states to decide on their own how to allocate the funds or 2) amend current federal coronavirus aid eligibility requirements to allow cannabis businesses to get funds that are available to other companies.

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“The decision to bar the legal cannabis industry from these relief programs not only harms the longevity of the industry but also the hardworking Americans who rely on the industry for their livelihood,” the groups wrote to congressional leaders. “Cannabis companies are good corporate citizens and readily participate in pandemic-related measures to care for their workforce such as mandatory paid sick leave and working to care for those with the virus.”

This latest push falls on the heels of a bill proposed by Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer and Colorado’s Earl Perlmutter to make cannabis industry participants eligible for relief during the coronavirus pandemic crisis. From the April 23rd press release issued by the representatives:

Reps. Blumenauer and Perlmutter Introduce Legislation to Make Cannabis Businesses Eligible for COVID-19 Relief

Washington D.C. – Today, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) introduced legislation that would make cannabis businesses eligible for Small Businesses Administration (SBA) COVID-19 relief programs.

Currently, state-legal cannabis businesses are being left out of relief that was established to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Most notably, they are unable to access and participation in SBA’s loan programs—financial support that is designed to pay workers, health care benefits, and family or sick leave. This legislation would grant state-legal cannabis businesses eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and Economic Injury Disaster Loans emergency advances.

“As Congress seeks to provide relief to small businesses across America, chief among those being left out are state-legal cannabis businesses that are essential to communities and have met the demands of this crisis,” said Rep. Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “We should include state-legal cannabis in federal COVID-19 response efforts.  Without providing these businesses the relief needed to carry out the recommended public health and worker-focused measures, we are putting these hard-working people – and ourselves – at risk.”

“Cannabis businesses are major employers and significant contributors to local economies in Colorado and across the country,” said Rep. Perlmutter (CO-07). “They should receive the same level of support as other legal, legitimate businesses and be eligible for SBA relief funds during this COVID-19 crisis.”

 Blumenauer also led a bipartisan coalition of nearly three dozen Congressmembers in calling on House leadership to ensure cannabis businesses are included in future relief efforts.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

Virtually every industry is hurting, and even though cannabis businesses remain open in legal states during this crisis, they are impacted by required safety precautions, massive unemployment, and supply chain disruptions, like any other business sector. The difference is that cannabis companies often don’t have access to bank accounts, loans, grants, insurance, and other services available to businesses, all they while, being taxed at an exorbitant rate because of the 280e tax provision. It’s time that Congress, and our society give our essential workers the protections and tools they need to navigate this frightening phase, and the cannabis industry should be no different.

House Speaker Wisely Supports Cannabis Banking Access in Next Coronavirus Bill

The United States economy is in a freefall because of the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down many sectors of our economy and disrupted our American way of life. With over 17 million more Americans unemployed and retail sales plummeting more in March, than ever before, our nation is facing our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The cannabis industry, considered an essential business sector here in Oregon, and across the nation in medical and legal states, is providing jobs, revenue, and medicinal products, but, thus far, has been locked out of the stimulus benefits available to other businesses.

Fortunately, the exclusion of cannabis businesses may change in the near future as provisions to allow cannabis businesses access to banking services may be included in an upcoming COVID-19 stimulus bill. Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) has stated that  such a provision has the support of top congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Marijuana Moment reported:

“I raised this very question to our caucus, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi directly last week, saying, look this is a major employer in Colorado and elsewhere around the country. They have been deemed essential services in many, many states,” Perlmutter said during the town hall call. “They cannot access any of the relief that we are providing for in any of these three packages that we have passed. She said, as did the other leadership members on the call, said she wanted to see it get passed.”

Perlmutter reiterated that the speaker supports his proposal and said the Democratic caucus will “continue to work on it over the next couple weeks as we put these additional packages together.”

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“I continue to push for the passage and enactment of the SAFE Banking Act to ensure cannabis and cannabis-related businesses can access the banking system, including access to much-needed financial assistance during times of need such as this COVID-19 pandemic,” Perlmutter told Marijuana Moment. “I’m also focused on ensuring any federal funding for state and local governments remains flexible enough so as not to exclude cannabis businesses in states where they are legal, legitimate businesses.”

Only time will tell if the cannabis industry will finally get access to the banking services that they need and deserve. It is downright shameful and hypocritical for cannabis farmers, processors, labs, and retailers to be deemed essential businesses and risk their lives during a global pandemic while being treated as second-class citizens. Banking access won’t be everything that the cannabis industry needs, but it’s a start.

 

 

 

Safety First: Kind Leaf Moves to Pickup and Delivery Only Due to Coronavirus

Kind Leaf is a true Oregon cannabis success story. Those in the know, understand the immense difficulties cannabis businesses face. The competition, burdensome regulations, egregious taxes, and lack of banking services put an immense amount of stress on cannabis retailers, more so than most other businesses. Through it all, Kind Leaf has been a true industry leader, putting the safety of the community first.

Now, Kind Leaf, the cannabis community, our nation, and the entire world face our biggest threat since World War II–the coronavirus (COVID-19). As usual, Kind Leaf is leading the way, putting people over profits. It was with the health of its staff, customers, our state, and nation in mind, that Kind Leaf made the tough, but right, decision to only provide pickup and delivery sales.

It is with a heavy heart that I post this.

A pandemic was never in our business plan, we are in unusual times, and it seems that everything that we know and find comfort in is being disrupted, the news comes by the minute.

COVID-19 is in our state, it is in our community and it is now affecting us all.

We are choosing to lead by example, and we are officially closing our doors to the general public as of tomorrow March 18, 2020 and moving to Leafly Pick up and home deliveries only. We have the goal of re-opening in four weeks on April, 18th 2020.m

You can come to Kind Leaf to pick up orders placed online, or you can have your order delivered to your home within city limits- must be a home address per state law.

Our intention is to protect the health and well-being of our staff and their families as well as the members of our community.

Stand with us and let’s all do our part to lower the curve, and bring this Pandemic to a close. Remember to practice social distancing, hand-washing and not sharing joints- so we can all get together and celebrate on 4/20/20

Thank you for supporting us from the beginning, we appreciate everyone we have met along the way. We hope to see you in again once this passes and the healing of our nation can begin.

With governments implementing more and more restrictions on people and businesses, it’s probably only a matter of time before dispensaries and retail stores are ordered to move to delivery and pickup services, but Kind Leaf deserves credit for being ahead of the curve. There could be a move soon to order the closure of cannabis stores completely, but we must mobilize to ensure that our community’s retailers are deemed essential businesses that can remain open, especially for the sake of medical patients. We will keep you posted on more important news.

The cannabis community can always trust Kind Leaf to have the health and safety of the public of heart. Please spread the word that folks can still enjoy the state’s greatest selection at Easter Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, they just need to utilize online and pickup services. Safety first, out there. Be Kind to each other, it’s more important than ever before.

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Coronavirus Hits the Cannabis Community: SXSW, Spannabis, and More

While it is important to not panic, it is hard to not be extremely concerned about the coronavirus and its impact on all of our daily lives. The wellbeing of people is the most important thing, of course, so any hit to any business sector or community must keep people’s lives, especially those most vulnerable, in mind above all else. I’m not too worried for myself, for instance, just taking extra precautions to ensure that I don’t potentially spread the virus to others, especially my friends with underlying conditions and my senior citizen parents that depend upon me. The cannabis community is certainly not immune and we must do our part to protect each other from this pandemic.

I know that cannabis businesses were early t to feel the brunt of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s properly named, since many packaging materials and other products are sourced from China. Businesses have faced inventory issues and shipping delays. Now, cannabis events are starting to get cancelled or postponed. SXSW’s cancellation, the first time in the event’s 34-year history, is estimated to have more than a $350 million hit on the economy of Austin, Texas, with service industry employees especially feeling the loss. While not strictly a cannabis event, South by Southwest does include a cannabusiness track, a demonstration of the mainstream nature of the industry.

Barcelona’s Spannabis was just postponed as the Spanish government just announced a prohibition on all events over 1,000 people. I was fortunate to attend Spannabis last year and hope to see the event bounce back in force as it is an important cultural force in Europe. We’re likely going to see many more gatherings canceled and postponed, a real bummer for the community and industry members that have modeled their business, recreation, and networking culture around these events, but people must come before profits.

Kind Leaf, as usual, was a leader among the industry in helping lead the way against the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. We must be extra vigilant to protect our patient population. The pandemic isn’t just impacting the economics of the cannabis industry, but the cultural norms of the cannabis community.  Best not to share joints and other modalities of cannabis use. NORML and cannabis comedian and activist Ngaio Bealum have expressed on Twitter.

The cannabis community has some of the most kind, creative, and forward-thinking people in the world. Now is the time to band together to help protect our community and all communities and to support each other in every way that we can. Much love, everyone.

Spannabis’ announcement in full:

Spannabis

Featured Photo Credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance