Category: Regulations

Can Pricey Ag Air Fresheners Stealth Stink of Cannabis Farms?

High-tech odor-abatement system changes airborne terpenes’ chemistry so new compounds don’t register as smells in human brains.

Can it neutralize nose-holding NIMBYs?

Can flash-freezing freshly harvested flowers eliminate drifting odors and bolster concentrates market?

By Ed Murrieta 

Speeding blasts of essential oil vapors — basically, 106-mph high-tech air fresheners that change the fundamental chemistry of odor-producing terpenes overwhelming senses and sensibilities of people living near cannabis farms — could settle a big stink in California, where odiferous agriculture meets nose-holding NIMBYs.

But, first, like vaccines and deodorant, everyone’s got to use the odor-neutralizing technology for the widest effect against aromas that smell like dead skunks, or worse, to detractors who call urban-area greenhouse farms “light industrial pharmaceuticals, not agriculture.” 

“I know [it works] because I live right here,” a former flower grower in Santa Barbara County who switched to greenhouse cannabis said of the odor-abatement system that claims to turn airborne terpenes’ aromas stealth in human brains.

Another former flower grower said the vapor curtain that costs $150,000 to install and $15,000 a month to operate rendered cannabis odors emitted from one of his greenhouses all but undetectable. A neighboring greenhouse without the system still stinks, casting a pungent pall over the plant-and-pet-friendly air-freshening efforts of others. 

“If most of us have systems in place, but not all of us do,” the grower said, “we have a problem.”  

A cannabis odor opponent who lives across from a greenhouse says the smell “permeates everything.”

Using hardware and software that control industrial agriculture odors — say, the stench of organic compost or waste-holding lagoons — an Indiana company is spraying the air above California cannabis greenhouses with vapors of sage, lemon verbena and other aromatic essential oils that collide with aromatic terpenes to create compounds which don’t register as smells in human brains.

While the high-end industrial air freshener is making strides neutralizing greenhouse odors but not all cannabis NIMBYs, can expensive blasts of natural plant vapors tame powerfully pungent terpenes wafting from 50-acre outdoor cannabis fields? Neighboring grape growers and vintners complain intruding cannabis terpenes’ aromas turn off their customers and taint their sales. 

“The skunk smell is a deterrent to other animals and humans,” said a winemaker whose property sits on a wedge of land surrounded by 230 acres of potential pot farms. “We have human beings coming to our tasting room we don’t want to deter.”

I’ll report on cannabis-odor abatement in Santa Barbara County:

  • What is the technology and science behind cannabis-odor abatement?
  • Is it worth it for growers?
  • Is it enough for NIMBYs?
  • Will it solve a problem?
  • How do cannabis growers and grape growers and vintners in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties view cannabis-odor issues?



West Hollywood Abuzz: American Amsterdam in Southern California

WeHo Radically Mainstreams Cannabis Consumption with Lounges and Restaurants

City Leaders Envision Buzzy Entertainment Enclave Popular with Locals and Tourists Becoming the State’s Legal Cannabis Destination

By Ed Murrieta

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Viewed from Google maps, this buzzy enclave fits in the urban heart of Southern California like a jagged-edged puzzle piece abutting three other famous cities: Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Viewed, smelled and tasted from street-level, West Hollywood fits your imaginary movie images of American Amsterdam.

Nearby Venice may have been up for the part with its picturesque canals and picaresque dispensaries, but West Hollywood, historically friendly to vice and alternative lifestyles, earns today’s leading role in mainstreaming cannabis culture and commerce.

Comprising just 1.8 square miles of Los Angeles County land, West Hollywood is home to 34,000 people and 40 approved cannabis business licenses, from delivery services to dispensaries to lounges to the world’s first licensed and regulated restaurant serving food and cannabis. West Hollywood estimates weed tourism will bring in about $6 million in tax revenue annually.

“We think this will drive more hotel nights in the city, that it will drive more people to come into the city, to go to our restaurants and bars, and patronize our other businesses,” West Hollywood’s weed czar John Leonard said.

Lowell Cafe recently opened, serving non-infused cuisine and menus of cannabis flowers, joints and extracts. Other cannabis restaurants in the works include Budberry, a garden cafe with a koi pond that’s scheduled to open on Valentine’s Day,and Aeon Botanika, a 7,000-square-foot wellness-shop / superfoods cafe / cannabis boutique / Moroccan-themed cannabis tea lounge / cannabis-enhanced acupuncture spa that is scheduled to open in the spring.



Legal and Lab-Tested, Friendly Farms’ 100% Cannabis Oil Is the Safe Way to Vape

Untested illicit vape cartridges are causing epidemic illnesses — and even three deaths — in legal recreational states, legal medicinal states and states where cannabis is banned.  Cannabis oil artisans Friendly Farms has the fix.


By Ed Murrieta

Three deaths and 450 illnesses in 33 states add up to one message:

Do not buy or use black-market vape cartridges.

Federal health officials last week advised people to avoid unregulated, untested and possibly contaminated vape cartridges in legal recreational states, legal medicinal states and states where cannabis is banned.

Following deaths in Illinois, Oregon and Indiana, New York health officials identified a possible source of what’s being called an epidemic: vitamin E oil.

The Federal Drug Administration tested seized illicit vape-oil cartridges for THC, nicotine, opioids, pesticides, poisons, toxins and cutting agents. Initial tests found vitamin E oil (tocopheryl-acetate) in 10 of 18 samples.

While vitamin E oil is generally regarded as safe for oral ingestion and topical use, effects of inhalation are unknown. Some health officials say vaporized vitamin E oil may congeal in people’s lungs after inhalation, causing shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and even death.

As Leafly reported last week, a new product called Honey Cut dilutes THC oil without thinning its viscosity. Honey Cut reportedly contains vitamin E oil. Honey Cut is manufactured by an unknown company offering no information about its approved uses. Honey Cut’s website abruptly went offline last week.

As test results from laboratories licensed by the state of California show, Friendly Farms’ live resin cannabis oil vape cartridges contain 100 percent all-natural cannabis — no cutting agents, no fillers, no additives.

Vaping is an effective and efficient method of consuming cannabis. Purchasing and consuming only regulated and tested products from licensed brands like Friendly Farms through licensed retail stores is the safe, pleasurable way to vape.



Hungry for Hemp

Originally published in the Tacoma News Tribune, Jan. 12, 2005


When the pipe dreams of food entrepreneurs, hemp activists and libertarian farmers come true, America’s fruited plains will be ripe with emerald waves of industrial hemp, a plant deeply rooted in the nation’s fabric and politics.

In this imagined world, we’ll eat a perfectly balanced, scientifically documented source of the essential fatty acids we need to keep our arteries supple and our brains finely tuned, in consumer foods from hemp tofu to hemp ice cream. Never mind debunked claims of positive drug tests.

Hemp will rotate with corn and soybean crops, boosting domestic farming, processing and manufacturing as the United States joins industrialized economies from Germany to China in hemp cultivation.

Before American consumers get a mainstream hit of hemp, however, some hemp activists insist the ultimate shift in consciousness must occur: The United States government must end its prohibition against marijuana, hemp’s heady cousin.

These entangled political, market and consumer issues have bummed hemp’s high hopes of becoming the greatest thing since soy.

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San Francisco Scores First Public Cannabis Lounge in U.S.

Update 2/11: ReLeaf Herbal’s bare-bones lounge is now serving recreational adult-use customers.
Update 2/8: Green Door’s Lounge847 is now open for recreational consumers.
Update 1/18: Urban Pharm opened for recreational sales and lounge use today, Thursday Jan. 18.

Decadent, safe, comfortable and regulated, Barbary Coast is now serving recreational cannabis consumers.

Barbary Coast

A view of the dab bar at Barbary Coast’s lounge. 


America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Denver.

America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Las Vegas.

Forget about Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts, too.

America’s first legal cannabis lounge opened Thursday in San Francisco.

Actually, Barbary Coast Collective opened its luxe lounge next to its South of Market medicinal cannabis dispensary in March. Barbary Coast started serving adult-use recreational customers Thursday, making it the first legal, regulated cannabis lounge in America — the holy grail of the modern cannabis era.

“It’s something we’re proud of and excited about,” Barbary Coast director Jesse Henry told me. “I think we are going to get a lot of people who’ll think it’s like going to Amsterdam, and we’ll provide a safe, clean, comfortable place for folks to smoke.”

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Tokechella Is California’s Smoking-Hot Desert Cannabis Tourist Destination

Massive Cultivation, Most Dispensaries Per Capita
and Cannabis-Friendly Resorts and Rentals
Make Palm Springs, Cathedral City and
Desert Hot Springs a Pot, Pot, Pot, Pot World


It’s high season in the Coachella Valley — for tourism and for pot.

Now’s the time to combine them both.

If you want to visit California next week for a taste of historic cannabis legalization in the Golden State, the Coachella Valley — in particular the resort-town cluster of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs —  is one of the best places to plan a cannabis getaway for Opening Day of legal pot sales, better than other California cannabis travel destinations like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe, all lagging behind the Jan. 1 start date.

A longtime playground for movie stars, mobsters, sunseekers and alternative lifestyles 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the Coachella Valley has the key elements intrepid cannabis travelers need to ring in California’s new legal era:

  • massive local cultivation;
  • most dispensaries per capita set to sell flowers, edibles and concentrates to adults age 21 and over;
  • cannabis-friendly lodgings, including two cannabis-friendly (and clothing-optional) hot springs resorts and a colorful mountain hotel with a vape-friendly cabin and smoke-friendly grounds;
  • and cannabis-fueled stargazing in Joshua Tree National Park.

Tokechella’s a pot, pot, pot, pot world for sure.

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The First Cannabis Lounge of the Legal Era in America Will Be in San Francisco

‘We have eight existing lounges in the City, and they will be able to continue operating in 2018,’ S.F. cannabis czar says.



While Denver, Las Vegas and Massachusetts are racing to claim the honor of being the first place in America to host a legal, adult-use cannabis consumption lounge, eight San Francisco medicinal cannabis dispensary lounges are poised to give San Francisco claim to being the home of the first  legal, adult-use cannabis consumption lounge in America come 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2018 — the first day of the new legal era in which the city’s currently permitted medicinal social lounges can serve the recreational market.

Anyone wanting to be the first cannabis lounge in America has until 8:59 a.m. PST on the first Saturday  of January.  You’ll be competing with the Apple store of cannabis lounges, a Burning Man-inspired lounge that feels like a steampunk sex club and the newest most decadent lounge in town, which I just had the honor of helping to name the best cannabis lounge in the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState Awards.

“We have eight existing lounges in the City, and they will be able to continue operating in 2018,” San Francisco’s Office of Cannabis director Nicole Elliott told me in an email this afternoon.

California has not yet created a licensing scheme for cannabis lounges, nor does the state expressly prohibit cannabis lounges.  Absent state prohibition, local governments like San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas can approve cannabis lounges.  San Francisco’s eight existing medicinal cannabis dispensary lounges — along with one that was shuttered by the federal government in 2011 and is preparing to re-open near Twitter headquarters — will be allowed to operate under city regulations they’ve operated under over the past decade.  Dispensaries that apply for new licenses in 2018 will be subject to stricter ventilation and  hermetically sealed smoking room requirements.

California pot czar Lori Ajax told regulators in Sacramento last week that when the state licenses cannabis lounges some time next year, lounge licenses will be tied to dispensary permits. There’ll be no stand-alone pot cafes in California.

San Francisco is the de facto model for pot lounges and social cannabis consumption in America.

Three of San Francisco’s leading dispensary lounges — Barbary Coast, Urban Pharm and Sparc — told they’re pursuing the state permit that’ll allow them to transition to the adult-use market. I’m checking with the other five dispensaries regarding their plans.


Urban Pharm



Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast


Here’s a tour of San Francisco cannabis lounges  I wrote last year.Here’s one San Francisco pot lounge story I wrote for the Denver Post’s The Cannabist in 2015. Here’s another.

Which San Francisco pot lounge do you want to visit when the first recreational pot lounge(s) opens in America on Jan. 6, 2018?

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