cultivation

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Wisconsin: State Supreme Court Rules Cops No Longer Need A Search Warrant

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in a 4-3 decision that evidence seized in a person's private home during a warrantless search can be used against the person. The ruling deals a huge blow to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is supposed to protect citizens against unreasonable search and seizure.

The court expanded the "community caretaker" clause in making the decision, reports Justin Gardner at The Free Thought Project.

The case began when police went to Charles Matalonis' house after his brother was found bloodied at a nearby residence. Matalonis let the cops in, admitting he had fought with his brother, and they saw blood and marijuana in the apartment.

The cops asked to look inside a locked room, and when Matalonis refused to open it, they broke in. Inside the found a cannabis growing operation, whereupon Matalonis was arrested and charged with "manufacture of marijuana."

The Court of Appeals had previously ruled this to be an unreasonable search. But in the 4-3 majority opinion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Annette Ziegler found that police were not investigating a crime but exercising their "community caretaker" function by checking to make sure no other injured people were in the house.

New York: Shinnecock Tribe Vote To Join Medical Marijuana Industry

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In a historic vote among its members over the weekend weekend, the Shinnecock Indian Nation has voted in support of plans to construct a medical marijuana cultivation facility and dispensary on tribal land near Southampton.

Tribal members voted 71 percent (83) to 29 percent (34) to approve the project and pursue designation from the State of New York as a provider for patients in the state's Medical Cannabis Program.

"As a people, we have always had a cultural appreciation for natural, holistic medicine and the difference it can make in the lives of those suffering most," said Bryan Polite, chairman of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. "The New York State Compassionate Care Act was a big step in the right direction for administering quality holistic medicine to people suffering from very serious illnesses."

"We also recognize this is an opportunity to create jobs for our members and true economic development to support tribal programs," Polite said. "We are encouraged by the enthusiastic support of our members and look forward to continuing our discussions with the State of New York to make this a reality."

On Jan. 1, New York became the 23rd state to allow the medical use of cannabis. The state approved five companies to produce it and 20 dispensaries to distribute it to roughly 125,000 New Yorkers diagnosed with a specific group of illnesses.

Advocates have called for an expansion of the list of approved illnesses, while also saying there are not enough dispensaries to adequately serve patients.

Washington: Adult Home Grow Bill Would Allow Up To 6 Plants

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new bill has been filed in the Washington Legislature would allow adults in the state to lawfully grow up to six marijuana plants. Washington is currently the only state with legal marijuana which doesn't allow any home cultivation; under the state's I-502 legalization law, all recreational cannabis must be grown by state-licensed commercial producers.

It's a chance for Washington to finally join the states where cannabis has been more fully legalized, because as any thinking person realizes, if you can't grow your own, it's not really legal yet.

HB 2629, filed by Rep. Brian Blake, a Democrat representing Washington's 19th Legislative District, would make the following amendments to current state marijuana laws:

• Authorizes individuals to lawfully engage in non-commercial (i.e., without an exchange of money) transfers of small amounts of cannabis and cannabis seeds;

• Authorizes adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home and to possess up to 24 ounces of marijuana harvested from the home-grown plants;

• Makes the possession of up to the three times the current legal limit for cannabis products (i.e., useable cannabis, infused products, and concentrates) a civil infraction rather than a felony offense;

• Makes the possession of more than three times the legal limit for marijuana products, but not more than 12 times the limit, a misdemeanor offense;

• Makes the possession of more than 12 times the legal limit for cannabis products a felony offense;

Maryland: More Cultivation Licenses Could Avoid Medical Marijuana Shortage

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A cannabis consumer advocacy and watchdog organization with offices in Maryland has issued a report ahead of the state's anticipated summer rollout of their medical marijuana program, asking policymakers to increase the amount of cultivation licenses.

After reviewing and analyzing consumption data in states with legal marijuana programs, and comparing that data to the potential number of patients, the Cannabis Consumers Coalition (CCC) calculated a potential shortage of 41,066 pounds, even if plants are grown under ideal conditions.

Maryland expects 125,000 patients to register, about 15,000 more than are registered in Colorado, which has hundreds of cultivation facilities. Maryland has a higher population than Colorado, and allows for more medical conditions to qualify for medical marijuana authorizations. In addition, Maryland accepts out-of-state patients.

These factors could result in several thousand more people registering as medicinal cannabis patients. "In comparison to Colorado, which has about 600,000 less people than Maryland, 15 cultivation centers seems very low," according to the CCC.

The report assumes that the currently allowed 15 cultivation licenses will be for substantially sized cannabis grows that are consistently high-yielding. Maryland hasn't issued licenses, so there's no way of knowing the square footage of proposed cultivation centers.

California: San Diego Rushes To Write Medical Marijuana Cultivation Rules

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new California law is spurring San Diego, for the first time, to regulate and allow cultivation of medical marijuana within city limits.

A memo issued by Deputy City Attorney Shannon Thomas last week describes ways the city could regulate the growing of medicinal cannabis, including zoning regulations or simply allowing cultivation in all areas zoned for agriculture, reports David Garrick at the Los Angeles Times.

The city might impose a "temporary" moratorium on cultivation while exploring new regulations, according to the memo.

California's new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act aims to "legitimize" the nearly 20-year-old industry; state voters first approved the use of medical marijuana back in 1996. The new law also gets regulations in place in anticipation of Californians approving recreational use of marijuana in November.

The law requires mandatory product testing and gives reluctant cities new reasons to allow dispensaries and cultivation by allowing them in on the money action, collecting fees and levying taxes.

The law also says cities with no regulations in place by March 1 will permanently cede authority of medical marijuana cultivation to the state -- but the author claims that deadline was erroneously included.

Oregon: Higher Medical Marijuana Grower Fees Proposed

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana growers would be required to pay a $200 annual fee for every patient the grow for under a proposal being considered by the Oregon Health Authority.

Oregon medical marijuana growers can grow cannabis for up to four patients; under current rules, the state charges $50 for each patient a grower takes on, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. Recent expansion of the health authority's oversight of production and processing prompted officials to propose the steeper fees to help "cover expenses" for the bureaucracy.

Officials estimate the grower fee increase would boost revenue from $1.3 million to $5.2 million for the 2015-2017 budget cycle.

People who grow only for themselves won't have to pay any additional fees. The cost of getting an Oregon medical marijuana card also remains the same, at $200. Oregon, along with Minnesota and New Jersey, already has the highest medical marijuana patient fees in the nation, according to ProCon.org.

The proposed fee increase for Oregon growers was discussed at a Monday meeting of the health authority's rules advisory committee, which is drafting regulations for the medicinal cannabis industry as well as parts of the recreational marijuana industry, including serving sizes.

The increased fees, if finalized, would kick in on March 1.

Illinois: Impact Of Medical Cannabis On Patients To Be Evaluated

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The choices, attitudes, and experience of medical cannabis patients in Illinois will be documented in a first-of-its-kind study through January 8.

Revolution Cannabis Analytics, a newly formed division of Revolution Enterprises, an Illinois-based company that manages two state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and laboratory facilities in Central Illinois, will perform the study.

Revolution Enterprises said it formed Revolution Cannabis Analytics "to better understand the unique effects of cannabinoids and the types of relief they may provide to patients suffering from certain conditions." Certain cannabinoids, a class of compounds found in the cannabis plant, may be beneficial in the treatment of various health conditions, according to a growing body of research.

Illinois, which allowed for the first sales of legal cannabis Nov. 9, has 3,600 registered patients for the state's pilot program, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. In addition, almost 29,300 persons with debilitating conditions have started the patient application process since IDPH began accepting applications on Sept. 2, 2014, data show.

"By using information captured through Revolution Cannabis Analytics, we will create the next generation of Revolution genetic varieties to precisely address specific debilitating conditions," said Revolution Enterprises CEO Tim McGraw. "This program will help Illinois to lead the world in the collection of analytical data and patient feedback as it relates to the science of cannabis."

Nebraska: Tribe Interested In Growing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa, with a 300-square-mile reservation about 90 minutes north of the city of Omaha, is interested in growing marijuana.

"We need jobs," said Daniel Webster, who lives on the reservation, which extends across the state line into Iowa, reports KETV.

Issues such as poverty and unemployment have reached critical levels, according to Omaha Tribe of Nebraska Chairman Vernon Miller. "Right now, my community has a 69 percent unemployment rate," Miller said.

According to Miller, the dire economy is leading to desperate solutions.

"We're not seeing anybody else looking to assist us and we acknowledge that, so we're trying to pursue whatever we can," he said.

The tribe, considered a sovereign nation, early this month polled its members on the legalization and sale of medical, industrial and recreational marijuana. "All three were supported by the majority, so that gave us the direction that the tribal membership wants to pursue," Miller said.

A federal Department of Justice memo last December sparked the interest; it extended the same drug cannabis law guidelines to the Native American reservations are are applied to states. As long as minors aren't allowed access, and the weed isn't allowed to cross borders of jurisdictions that do not allow it, the feds announced they wouldn't interfere with tribes legalizing marijuana sales on the reservation.

California: Secretary of State Clears Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016 For Collecting Signatures

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Grassroots Organization Mobilizes Volunteers and Fundraising Efforts to Collect Donations and Signatures

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla this week announced that the organizers of the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI) 2016 can begin collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November 8, 2016 California state election.

The grassroots organization has 180 days to circulate petitions and collect 365,880 registered voters' signatures, which must be submitted to county elections officials by April 25, 2016. The CCHI 2016 plan allows for the legalization of cannabis in the state of California by citizens 21 years or older.

To raise the funds for this effort, the CCHI 2016 is launching a pledge drive to solicit funding from businesses and individuals to help fund the Initiative that legalizes cannabis in the state of California. The campaign has set a goal of $900,000 in pledges that needs to be raised to fund professional petition gathers across the state. Every dollar raised will go to hire the professional petitioners.

Oregon: Scant Hemp Harvest For Medicine Despite Wide Interest

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Michael Hughes could legally grow marijuana in his back yard in Bend, Oregon, if he wanted to. But he can't grow hemp there.

Hughes bought a license to grow hemp, but due to a number of factors, it's still more legally difficult to grow hemp than marijuana and other crops in Oregon, reports Taylor W. Anderson at The Bend Bulletin.

The Legislature authorized hemp cultivation in 2009, despite it being considered marijuana and thus a Schedule I controlled substance federally. The law put the Oregon Department of Agriculture in charge of writing rules and licensing growers.

After taking five years(!) to finish the rules, the agency was finally ready this year for what turned out to be a largely unsuccessful growing season in which just nine licensed hemp farmers got crops into the ground. Those who braved the regulatory environment had to deal with months of uncertainty in a state that last November voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Timidity by the Department of Agriculture to embrace hemp has combined with federal law to cripple Oregon's hemp market, despite commercial interest in creating an industry that could lead the nation, according to farmers, businesses, lawmakers and the agencies overseeing hemp in Oregon and other states.

North Carolina: Former Physician Charged For Growing Marijuana In Garage

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A former physician in North Carolina said he is unapologetic about the changes he faces after cannabis plants were seized from his garage.

Gordon Piland is looking at five felonies and one misdemeanor charge after a raid by Buncombe County Sheriff's investigators, reports Kimberly M. King at WLOS.

Piland admits he had about 30 cannabis plants growing in his garage in his rented home in Candler, N.C. "It's a plant given to us by the creator," he said.

One felony charge is for possession of psilocybin mushrooms; another is for possessing what Piland said is an old bottle of his late brother's prescription Percocet to remind him of his brother's tragic addiction to pain medication.

The rest of the charges are for Piland's possession and and alleged sale of marijuana.

Piland has a medical degree from Wake Forest, but his license to practice was revoked in the 1980s, he said, when cops found more than 100 marijuana plants in his home on the North Carolina coast.

Piland said he considers himself a naturopath, and said he helps ill people who get relief from smoking cannabis. "I'm not doing anything but basically fulfilling my oath as a physician," he said.

"People who have cancer and are trying to treat themselves, some people who are on chemotherapy have looked to me for various forms of cannabis,” Piland said.

Wisconsin: Menominee Tribe's Hemp Crop Destroyed By DEA Agents

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal agents on Friday destroyed an industrial hemp crop on the lands of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.

The tribe in May had legalized low THC, non-psychoactive industrial hemp by tribal licenses on its own land, reports Christie Green of CBS 58.

Congress last year passed a Farm Bill which creates an exemption to the Controlled Substances Act to allow for the cultivation and study of industrial hemp under some circumstances. The hemp crop was intended to be a legal crop allowed by the Farm Bill, according to the tribe.

"I am deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has made the decision to utilize the full force of the DEA to raid our Tribe," said Chairman Gary Besaw. "We were attempting to grow industrial hemp for research purposes in accordance with the farm bill.

"We offered to take any differences in the interpretation of the farm bill to federal court," Besaw said. "Instead, the Obama administration sent agents to destroy our crop while allowing recreational marijuana in Colorado.

"I just wish the President would explain to tribes why we can't grow industrial hemp like states, and even more importantly, why we don't deserve an opportunity to make our argument to a federal judge rather than having our community raided by the DEA?" Besaw said.

Maryland: Industry Training For Medical Cannabis Applicants Set For Oct. 12

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Leading Cannabis Consumer Safety and Regulatory Compliance Experts Offer Networking and Education Opportunity

The Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program on October 12 will host a Maryland application preparation event for applicants seeking licenses to operate medical cannabis cultivation, processing or dispensary locations in Maryland. This event will consist of a networking reception followed by an educational workshop with industry experts on Maryland’s application process and best practices to meet regulatory requirements.

The Maryland Cannabis Commission began accepting applications on September 28. The commission will issue 15 licenses for cultivation, up to 92 for dispensaries, and an unlimited number for processors.

Maryland has adopted the American Herbal Product Association's (AHPA) Recommendations for Regulators, which require businesses to meet staff training requirements, and robust product safety protocols; undergo rigorous on-site compliance audits; implement lot and batch tracking; and adhere to all local and state regulatory requirements.

“PFC is hosting this event to prepare Maryland’s cannabis industry to meet regulatory requirements and strengthen the commitment of industry professionals to provide quality care and safe medicine to patients,” said PFC Director Kristin Nevedal.

Illinois: Legal Medical Marijuana Smells Like Money And Jobs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The skunky aroma of marijuana in a rural southeastern Illinois town isn't a source of complaints... in fact, to most residents, it smells like money and jobs.

It's almost harvest timer in the historic town of Albion, which means a new farmland ritual is beginning amid the surrounding cornfields, reports Carla K. Johnson at the Associated Press.

Ataraxia is one of a handful of cultivation centers in Illinois, and it's the first to complete a gauntlet of state requirements. Stores in Albion can't sell liquor, but marijuana has been welcomed as a badly needed source of employment.

A t-shirt for sale in town makes light of the odd juxtaposition: it says Albion is "High and Dry." That's OK; marijuana's safer than alcohol!

"It's brought our little town to life," said Cheryl Taylor, who sells the shirts at her shop on the square.

The history-making cannabis crop is being cut and dried behind the locked doors of a giant warehouse down a country road, behind the New Holland tractor dealer and the Pioneer seed plant. By mid-October, strains including Blue Dream, OG Kush, Death Star and White Poison will be turned into oils, creams, flowers for smoking, and edibles.

Colorado: Marijuana Growers Have Legal Alternatives To 'Organic' Label

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado's marijuana industry has thus far benefited from the regulatory gray area where it resides, but according to an expert in organic certification, any other operation that routinely labeled its products "organic" without certification would have been shut down and fined almost immediately.

"If those farmers were farming any other agricultural crop, they would be contacted within a month or two," said Chris Van Hook, an accredited organic certifier for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and owner of Clean Green Certified, which offers alternative organic certifications for cannabis, reports Emilie Rusch at The Denver Post.

"It's very clear in the organic regulations," Van Hook said. "It's an $11,000-per-violation labeling infraction to call an uncertified product organic."

Industry figures are working to find a way to legitimately market cannabis products as pesticide-free and environmentally friendly. Van Hook established his "Clean Green" certification seal in 2004, and another organization, based in Denver, could begin certifiying marijuana as pesticide-free later this year.

"The quicker the cannabis industry can address the misrepresentation, the better it will be for consumers and farmers," Van Hook said. Clean Green, based in Crescent City, California, has already certified more than 100 cannabis grow operations, processors and collectives.

Arizona: Cannabis Expo Offers Free Admission For Dispensary and Cultivation Owners In SW

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Regional dispensary and cultivation center owners will receive free admission to the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo (SWCCE) on October 27 and 28 at the Phoenix Convention Center, according to Rory Mendoza, executive director of the first-ever cannabis convention in Arizona.

The complimentary admission tickets are provided through a partnership with MJ Freeway and event organizers and must be reserved online at www.swccexpo.com by October 15. Licensed dispensary and cultivation center owners from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Southern California may qualify.

“Education and community are a cornerstone of our industry,” said Amy Poinsett, cofounder and CEO of MJ Freeway. "Conferences like the Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo help ensure all regions have access to events that foster leadership, education and community-building.

"MJ Freeway gladly supports the advancement of the cannabis industry through our sponsorship of these types of events," Poinsett said. "The SWCCE is special because cannabis-business owners, the heart of the industry, receive free admission to the event."

MJ Freeway markets seed-to-sale tracking software, with patent-pending inventory control and grow management applications for cannabis businesses. The company provides technology that delivers solutions and compliance accountability for producers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers.

Hawaii: Medical Marijuana Patients Rely On Down-Low Grower Network

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Most of Hawaii's 13,000 medical marijuana patients first had to commit a crime to obtain and grow their medicinal cannabis under the state's laws. Though Hawaii voters legalized medical marijuana back in 2000, it didn't make provisions for legal dispensaries; it required patients to grow their own supply, but didn't specify where to get the seeds or plants.

"When the state passed the law, they allowed you to have a card, but they didn't provide you any way to get the product, grow the product or how to make the product into any form of medicine," said Jari Sugano, whose first cannabis plant came illegaly from another Hawaiian caregiver, reports News21. The plant was the only way she could grow medical marijuana for her now six-year-old daughter, who has Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy.

The sale or transfer or seeds and plants is still illegal in Hawaii, even between qualified patients. For 15 years, the absence of a legal solution has fueled a thriving black market and made it hard to know who's using weed legally and who's not. Only this year did the Hawaii Legislature finally get around to legalizing dispensaries.

Alaska: Marijuana Advocates Call For Home Growers To Be Able To Legally Sell Weed

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Home cannabis growers in Alaska need a way to enter the legal marijuana market, a group of advocates said Tuesday at the first public hearing dealing with legal marijuana businesses in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

"Most of the entrepreneurs are wanting to start a small boutique-sized facility in their home," said Shuan Tacke of Fairbanks, treasurer of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, reports Amanda Bohman at the News Miner. "No one would even know that it is next door to them as they don't even know now most of the time."

Tacke was among seven people to testify before the Planning Commission on an ordinance, 2015-41, which defines which zones allow cannabis dispensaries and companies.

Under the measure, no marijuana commerce would be allowed in residential zones. The Borough Assembly will have the final vote on the measure.

The details of the measure, according to deputy planning director Kellen Spillman, are:

• Heavy industrial zones are the most permissive for marijuana commerce. Cultivation, testing, manufacturing and retail would be allowed in heavy industrial zones.

• Cannabis cultivation would be allowed in agricultural and general use districts, but large facilities would be conditional and involve public hearings.

• Retail cannabis stores would be allowed in commercial and industrial districts.

Arizona: Scientific Botanical Leasing Closes First Round $800K Funding

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Cpompany Rolls Out IRA and Qualified Plan Investment Offering

Scientific Botanical Leasing, specializing in engineering and development of cannabis cultivation and related manufacturing facilities, on Wednesday announced that it has finalized its first round funding totaling $800,000, and has opened its Series 2015B offering to new investors ($25,000 minimum, $1.5 million maximum offering, accredited investors only, 506C).

The Series 2015B offers commercial real estate secured Notes, which can be purchased by IRA, Qualified Plan and other investors that meet the offering requirements.

The CEO of Scientific Botanical Leasing, Brent Nerguizian, touched on the need for organized, legally compliant, secure investment alternatives with real equity and capable sponsorship. “After 30 years of managing real estate investments and hedge funds, it is exciting to finally be able to offer a highly structured, legally compliant, secure investment in commercial real estate related to the cannabis industry,” Nerguizian said.

The company has executed lease agreements for its facilities with an Arizona state licensed dispensary for a term of 10 years. The funds will be used to complete the $1.7 million total of tenant improvements, payoff bridge financing and complete tenant signing incentives.

California: The Green Exchange Launches Online Marijuana Store

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The Green Exchange, Inc. has launched the world's first online marijuana store. This innovative portal allows California dispensaries or collectives to view available cannabis inventory, connect with growers, make purchases direct from the farm, or place a bid via a unique online auction platform.

The Green Exchange is free to use, and there are no contracts, fees or obligations. Dispensary owners or managers are invited to visit the website and try it out.

The new system also provides an automatic social media notification, so when a dispensary obtains cannabis, a message can automatically be sent to the dispensary's Twitter and Facebook followers, notifying them that a new selection of cannabis is available.

In this regard, the website also functions as a sales and marketing tool that gets the word out to dispensary patients and potential patients – all free of charge.

The Green Exchange was developed by a group of cannabis industry veterans, who have been growing in Mendocino County for more than 10 years.

"We think it's important for everyone to know that we are not Wall Street outsiders or Silicon Valley Executives, looking to make a fast buck in the marijuana industry," said Joshua Artman, cofounder and CEO of The Green Exchange, Inc. "We get our hands dirty every day.

"We know how to grow a quality product," Artman said. "And now, through an innovative, web-based system, we are able to offer this product directly to dispensaries, with no middleman or markup."

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