No weed-and-wine tours in Ohio. Medical marijuana dispensaries will be off-limits to most

Marijuana tourism has become an industry unto itself in states such as Nevada and California, where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use.

Some travel agencies even offer cannabis getaways to Denver, Las Vegas and other cities, where party buses heading to dispensaries for cannabis tours have become a common sight.

Marijuana retail outlets have even teamed with restaurants and wineries to offer “weed-and-wine” or “eats-and-edibles” tastings in on-site consumption lounges.

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Why most Ohio doctors certified to recommend marijuana aren’t doing so

Nearly every major hospital in northeast Ohio has come out against medical marijuana. Yet most have at least one doctor interested in the drug to treat everything from intractable seizures in children to end-of-life comfort for terminally ill cancer patients.

An estimated 80 percent of doctors certified to recommend marijuana in Ohio are not fully participating. Some just signed on to keep up on the regulations around the controversial drug. Concerned about drug abuse, others are turning away new patients seeking cannabinoids.

Ohio is among 23 states now permitting medical marijuana with a doctor’s consent; 10 states allow recreational use. Ohio’s physicians are in the common “Catch 22” of considering a new state-approved treatment beset by lingering stigmas and hindered by insurance companies and hospitals, which take their cues from federal regulators who in 1970 put marijuana, once prescribed freely a century ago, in a category of the most dangerous drugs.

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First medical marijuana sold in Ohio as dispensaries open

One of the first, if not the first, person to purchase medical marijuana in Ohio on Wednesday morning thinks the much-anticipated opening of dispensaries is a “great day” for the state.

“I think it’s a big win for patients in Ohio,” said Joan Caleodis, who has primary progressive multiple sclerosis, in a telephone interview after buying $200 worth of marijuana buds at CY+ Dispensary in eastern Ohio.

While Ohio has awarded provisional licenses to 56 dispensaries, only four opened Wednesday — two in Wintersville outside of Steubenville, including CY+. The other dispensaries are in Canton and Sandusky. A fifth that has received a certificate of operation from the state is expected to open sometime this week outside Cleveland.

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Status of Small Alcohol Suppliers: Still Growing with Bright Spots and Bumps

Small suppliers of beer, wine and distilled spirits continue to grow albeit at a slower rate overall. Some areas of the country do better than others for some products and there are spots where local markets may be saturated. Here is a summary:

Beer: The growth of breweries continues upward and surpassed 7,000 in 2018 according to the Brewers Association. While the overall 2017 beer sales and production dropped by about 1%, craft beer (as defined by the Brewers Association) grew by 5%–not the double-digit rates of the past, but still healthy. This equates to a 12.7% market share. Because a number of small beer companies have been purchased by large corporate entities, they no longer meet the Brewers Association definition of “craft.” Thus, the total share of these products is probably higher. The “craft” segment is dominated by “regional” breweries which account for 70% of production.

  • While beer can be made anywhere, small beer suppliers have predominated in a few states, but that is changing.
  • The most populous states had the greatest number of breweries: California (764), Washington (369), Colorado (348), Michigan (330) and New York (329). But the top five per capita are Vermont (11.5), Montana (9.6), Maine (9.6), Oregon (8.5) and Colorado (8.4), according to VinePair.
  • “Craft” beer has shown higher growth elsewhere: New Jersey (43%), Kentucky (43%), Oklahoma (39%), North Carolina (37%), Virginia (36%), New Hampshire (33%) according to a report by C + R research.
  • Economic impact was substantial, but varied greatly from one state to another. According to the Brewers Association, total economic impact in 2017 was over $76 billion with wages averaging $48,905. Twenty-two states had an annual economic impact of over a billion dollars. The highest per capita economic impact occurred in Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
  • Closures and bankruptcies increased. Among brewpubs, there were fewer openings in 2017 and more closings than in 2016 although the overall number of closures was small. For micro-breweries, there were both more openings and closings…again the number was small. There were a few high-profile closures that seem to happen as expansion efforts soured. One was the San Diego brewer, Green Flash, which had expanded nation-wide and via exports, but they took on too much debt. “Most recently, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery slashed 7 percent of its workforce, and affected positions came from sales, marketing and operations.” Several others, including the large companies cut staff. Various reasons have been offered for cut-backs such as increased competition from large companies with “craft” products and out-of-state microbrewers, lack of customer loyalty, the overall slowing of sales due to health concerns and possible marijuana substitution.

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Prince Harry Reportedly Gave Up Alcohol for Meghan Markle, and His Family Is Thrilled

Prince Harry‘s partying days are over for now—according to a new report from The Daily Express, at least. Sources tell the British publication that Meghan Markle has inspired Prince Harry to give up alcohol during her pregnancy, and it doesn’t stop there: The Duke of Sussex also reportedly kicked caffeine and tea beverages. The royal family, per this story, is “amazed” at the change.

But here’s my question: What does he drink during high tea with the queen if not, well, high tea? Tap water? Sparkling water? A strawberry-kiwi Capri Sun? For the love of Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis, please let it be a strawberry-kiwi Capri Sun.

Of course, take this report with a grain of salt. We don’t really know what’s in Harry and Meghan’s fridge—besides roast chicken—and the sources who talked to The Daily Express sound like former frat bros annoyed that he swapped Natty Lights for Smartwater.

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The biggest American cigarette company buys a $13 billion stake in the biggest e-cigarette startup

Altria, America’s preeminent cigarette company, is looking beyond tobacco for growth.

Fresh off a $1.8 billion investment in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group (CRON), Altria on Thursday purchased a 35% stake in e-cigarette maker Juul, worth $12.8 billion. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that Altria (MO) was considering an investment.
The investment is the largest in Altria’s history, and it values Juul at $38 billion dollars. It pairs a company that controls half of the American tobacco market with startup Juul — which sells more than 70% of the cartridge-based e-cigarettes in the United States.
The marriage allows Altria to broaden its customer base. Altria is a US-only business, spinning off from Philip Morris International in 2008. Juul sells its e-cigarettes in Canada, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom, in addition to the United States.
It could give Altria, a leader in a US cigarette business in slow decline, a window into the rapidly growing market of e-cigarettes. The deal could give Juul access to Altria’s massive distribution network and top-shelf space at stores. And Altria will advertise Juul products in cigarette pack inserts and mailings, the company announced.

U.S. Surgeon General wants tougher action to tackle teen vaping epidemic

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Tuesday issued a rare advisory here, calling for aggressive steps against e-cigarette use among teens, which he said has become an “epidemic”.

The detailed advisory listed various strategies that states, communities, health professionals and parents can apply to restrict the use of e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are handheld devices that induce the feeling of smoking by delivering nicotine, flavorings and other additives to the user through an inhaled aerosol.

The devices, which are often thought of as safer alternative to cigarettes, are not harmless, the advisory noted.

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E-cig popularity fuels spike in flavored tobacco use among teenagers

After dropping off a few years ago, the use of flavored tobacco products has rebounded among middle and high school kids because of e-cigarettes, a new study says.

The number of high school age kids using flavored tobacco fell from 69.4 percent in 2014 to 57.7 percent in 2016, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics published Monday. But between 2016 and 2017, that number started moving back up to 63.6 percent.

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Starbucks to install safe needle disposal boxes after employees sign petition

Several Starbucks locations in the Seattle area will be installing safe needle deposit boxes in store bathrooms after thousands of workers signed a petition calling on the coffee mega chain to “protect employees.”

Workers took to to pen the petition, which 3,700 employees had signed by Wednesday evening, 300 shy of its 4,000 person goal.

In the petition, workers urged corporate to place needle deposit boxes in Starbucks bathrooms, citing the “heroin” and hepatitis C “crisis” as well as the risks involved with unsafely discarded hypodermic needles.

“Exposure to HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Hep B, etc. is a risk in Seattle where there is a heroin/hep c crisis,” the petition claimed. “Employees risk getting poked, and DO get poked, even when following ‘protocol’ of using gloves and tongs to dispose of used needles left in bathrooms, tampon disposal boxes, and diaper changing stations.”

The petition went on to report that along with the risk of being poked with needles, “Employees have to pay out-of-pocket for [treatment if poked] before being reimbursed until Starbucks’s company insurance kicks in.”

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‘Horror Movie’ Ads Aim to Scare Kids From Opioids

Arizona is betting on shock value to keep teens from abusing opioids.

The state is spending more than $400,000 on an anti-opioid campaign that features 30-second scare ads depicting a teenager trapped inside an opioid pill and a bottle of pills beside a lifeless hand. The campaign’s tagline, “Getting in is easier than getting out,” seeks to educate teens about how quickly people can become ensnared by addiction.

“It kind of has a horror movie feel to it,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, according to The Arizona Republic. She said the campaign, tied to state legislation, “had to be graphic, and it had to show the law enforcement consequences of opioids.”

The ads run on social media and music streaming sites and direct viewers to a teen-oriented website that discusses the risks associated with prescription painkillers and street drugs, the Republic reported. The spots echo the message of four scare ads, featuring real-life stories of people who became addicted to opioids, unveiled by the White House last June.

“That’s the least expensive thing we can do, where you scare them from ending up like the people in the commercials,” President Donald Trump said in March while discussing steps his administration was taking to combat the epidemic.

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