O Cannabis: Swapping bongs to benefit the Holyoke Creative Arts Center
Jul26

O Cannabis: Swapping bongs to benefit the Holyoke Creative Arts Center

The Great New England Marijuana Accessories Swap Meet will be “like an Antique’s Roadshow for bongs.” According to Jeff Bianchine, director of the Holyoke Creative Arts Center, which will benefit from the fundraiser event, potentially hundreds of people swapping, selling, or purchasing marijuana accessories and two appraisers of marijuana accessories available to buyers or sellers. The bong swap is slated for Aug. 26...

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O Cannabis: The craftsmanship of hand trimming
Jul12

O Cannabis: The craftsmanship of hand trimming

Most people, even non-cannabis smokers, could pretty easily recognize two parts of the cannabis plant: the flower, or bud, that is dried and sold for consumption, and the fan shaped leaves that are often used in advertisements. An important aspect of turning the flower of the cannabis plant into the dried bud that most people are familiar with is trimming. In order to get the bud to look how the consumer expects, cannabis growers need...

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O Cannabis: From stigmatized weed pipe maker to artisanal marijuana glass blower
Jun27

O Cannabis: From stigmatized weed pipe maker to artisanal marijuana glass blower

Chris Hubbard has been crafting artisanal glass pipes for marijuana smokers with his Florence-based business Akame Glass for more than a decade and thinks the stigma against weed-related glassblowing is shifting, and his industry is starting to be legitimized by the larger art world. “Before the world considered us artists, we were drug paraphernalia makers,” he said. “Now that weed is legal. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re an artist.’ I’ve...

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O Cannabis: Support grows for bipartisan weed legislation leaving federal law up to states
Jun12

O Cannabis: Support grows for bipartisan weed legislation leaving federal law up to states

Local marijuana businesses — and federal legislators — are supporting bipartisan legislation that would leave marijuana regulation up to the states, a change from the blanket federal prohibition now in place. That’s a positive sign for Easthampton resident Karima Rizk, whose dream of opening a local cannabis cafe has been stifled both by state and federal laws. “I think it’s great news and it’s showing there is an increasing level of...

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Warren, Gardner introduce bipartisan bill to let states regulate marijuana for themselves
Jun07

Warren, Gardner introduce bipartisan bill to let states regulate marijuana for themselves

In a show of bipartisan support for clarity around marijuana laws, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado held a joint press conference about a bill they are sponsoring to allow states to make their own decisions regarding marijuana legislation. Massachusetts and Colorado are two of a growing number of states to have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and Warren said that...

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O Cannabis: Local cannabis start-up Treeworks aims to have something for everyone
May31

O Cannabis: Local cannabis start-up Treeworks aims to have something for everyone

A new start-up cannabis business called Treeworks is taking a grassroots approach to the burgeoning legalized marijuana industry in Massachusetts by working out of a home kitchen to develop a line of locally sourced products, including cannabis oils, edibles such as gummies, tinctures, topicals, and cannabinoid infused Kombucha. Treeworks is the brainchild of three Pioneer Valley residents in their mid-to-late 20s – Timothy...

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National Marijuana Company GTI First to Open Medical Dispensary in Amherst
May18

National Marijuana Company GTI First to Open Medical Dispensary in Amherst

The big scissors were out in Amherst this week as the CEO of the national company Green Thumb Industries (GTI) cut the ribbon in front of the town’s first medical marijuana dispensary, called RISE Amherst. Despite being based in Chicago, Pete Kadens, director and CEO of GTI, said that GTI wants to be a positive contributor to the community by helping to alleviate the opioid crisis by offering an alternative medicine and employing...

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Mass Cannabis Chefs elevate edibles across the state
Apr27

Mass Cannabis Chefs elevate edibles across the state

What does cannabis taste like? Many people might describe it as earthy, pungent, or bitter. According to Joe Nelson, 29, of Plymouth, one of the chefs and co-founders of Mass Cannabis Chefs, the idea that all cannabis tastes the same is a misconception. “It’s different all the time, it’s different for every plant,” Nelson said. Nelson said that he has tried plants that taste citrusy and lemony, and plants that taste more like pine. As...

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Beyond 4/20: Criminal Justice Reform and Cannabis in Mass
Apr20

Beyond 4/20: Criminal Justice Reform and Cannabis in Mass

If any day could be called National Marijuana Day, it’s 4/20. Cannabis consumers are celebrating an exciting year for cannabis in Massachusetts with the first recreational marijuana licenses already approved, but many people, particularly in communities of color, are still dealing with the effects of prohibition. Andrew Stachiw is a worker owner at Toolbox for Education and Social Action; he’s worked with people at the Franklin County...

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Bank bails on Mass cannabis businesses
Apr13

Bank bails on Mass cannabis businesses

April 20 (4/20) can be an auspicious day for cannabis-related businesses. But this year, some of them will see their bank accounts abruptly closed. Citizens Bank, based in Providence, Rhode Island, informed an unknown number of customers with connections to the cannabis industry that they would be closing their accounts on April 20, offering no explanation in the letter as to why. “We felt like having the account closed on 4/20 was...

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O’ Cannabis! Inhale, Exhale: Cannabis friendly yoga comes to the Valley
Apr10

O’ Cannabis! Inhale, Exhale: Cannabis friendly yoga comes to the Valley

Slow, meditative breathing is an important part of most yoga classes, but at Chronic Trips’ first cannabis-friendly yoga class on April 7, there was also a different kind of inhaling going on. “We want to reduce the stigma of the lazy stoner,” said Chronic Trips owner Seth Frappier. Frappier hosted the first Inhale Exhale yoga at Ora Care in Springfield, a store and café that sells hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) products. Participants...

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Cannabis industry leaders gather at Hampshire College summit to widen appeal of plant
Apr02

Cannabis industry leaders gather at Hampshire College summit to widen appeal of plant

Adult-use cannabis was legalized by Massachusetts voters in 2016, but based on the number of moratoriums and bans that have passed across the state since then, it’s clear that there are still some mixed feelings about cannabis on the local level. “Like every other movement this is about relationships,” said Marie Salgado, who does community outreach in Holyoke and at Hampshire College. “There’s so much education that needs to happen.”...

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O Cannabis! Small Town of Erving Wrestles with Big Cannabis Question
Mar23

O Cannabis! Small Town of Erving Wrestles with Big Cannabis Question

The statewide adult-use cannabis regulations are finally in place, but for many small towns the almost-90 pages of regulations aren’t much help when it comes to actual implementation. In Erving, a town with a population of 1,800, planning board members have been preparing their adult-use cannabis bylaw since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2016. While Erving isn’t a big retail town, planning board members believe that the...

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O’ Cannabis!: An interactive map of marijuana moratoriums and bans in Pioneer Valley
Mar23

O’ Cannabis!: An interactive map of marijuana moratoriums and bans in Pioneer Valley

Towns and cities across the commonwealth have already passed marijuana moratoriums and bans as the date that the state can issue business licenses draws closer. Below is a map of moratoriums (in yellow) and bans (in red) in the Pioneer Valley to date. Those cities and towns that will allow the sale of recreational cannabis are in green, of course. This map was compiled using publicly available documents and local media. Click on...

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O Cannabis: Pot and Pets, THC a No-No but CBD Shows Promise
Mar16

O Cannabis: Pot and Pets, THC a No-No but CBD Shows Promise

While the humans, are away the pets will play, but if cannabis is in the house, it could be a health risk to your furry friends. Doctor Ellie Shelburne, one of the co-owners of the Northampton Veterinary Clinic, said that cannabis is one of the top 10 toxins she treats for at the Northampton Veterinary Clinic. “THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is much more toxic to dogs and cats than it is to people,” Shelburne said. According to the...

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O, Cannabis! Craft marijuana co-ops in the Valley?
Mar14

O, Cannabis! Craft marijuana co-ops in the Valley?

The Pioneer Valley has a rich agricultural history and is home to many famous products, including “Hadley grass” (asparagus grown in Hadley) and enough tobacco in the 1800s for the region to be known as the “tobacco valley.” The Valley now has the opportunity to take advantage of growing a different kind of grass: cannabis. Will cannabis be the next craft product making a name for itself as a high-quality, Valley-grown product? Local...

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O Cannabis: CCC finalizes cannabis regulations, weed cafes don’t make the cut
Mar07

O Cannabis: CCC finalizes cannabis regulations, weed cafes don’t make the cut

Cannabis regulations were finally finalized on March 6 and Massachusetts marijuana enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to in 2018. Medical marijuana patients will be protected from shortages and applicants from communities worst affected by cannabis criminalization will be prioritized for licenses. But unfortunately, the dream of Massachusetts paving the way in America with cannabis cafes and yoga studios has been put on the back...

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O: Cannabis: ‘Little pieces of art’ — the magic of making professional edibles
Feb20

O: Cannabis: ‘Little pieces of art’ — the magic of making professional edibles

Algebra and edibles do not usually mix, but for Mark Wikar one is absolutely essential for creating the other. Even though his background is as a pastry chef, Wikar now uses a lot of math to create perfectly dosed edibles at INSA, a medical cannabis dispensary that opened in Easthampton this month. “My mom was a math teacher but I didn’t really pay attention,” Wikar joked. Wikar is the head of edible manufacturing at INSA where he...

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O Cannabis: Questions at Greenfield Cannabis Control Commission Meeting Run the Gamut
Feb09

O Cannabis: Questions at Greenfield Cannabis Control Commission Meeting Run the Gamut

Franklin County has a rich agricultural history, so it was no surprise that several different farmers spoke at the public forum hosted by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) in Greenfield. The forum, which was hosted on Tuesday, is one of 10 public forums happening all over the state through February 14. The forums are a chance for public to bring their thoughts and concerns about the draft regulations to the CCC before the final...

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O Cannabis: How to use marijuana at home without smoking it
Feb07

O Cannabis: How to use marijuana at home without smoking it

As recreational and medical marijuana legalization laws continue to pass state by state, more and more people are curious about cannabis. As different people are willing to try cannabis for recreation or medicine, the image from That ’70s Show of a group of people in smoke filled basement passing around a joint no longer dominates as the picture of cannabis consumers. Many people don’t like smoking but are interested in the medicinal...

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Too High to Drive? New App Allows Marijuana Users to Test Their Impairment Level
Jan24

Too High to Drive? New App Allows Marijuana Users to Test Their Impairment Level

Despite the legalization of recreational cannabis use for adults in Massachusetts over a year ago, there is still no standard of measure or device to test people behind the wheel for marijuana intoxication. This presents a problem for law enforcement officers who don’t have the equivalent of a breathalyzer and the .08 blood alcohol content standard for cannabis use, and also for people who are concerned that they may be impaired and...

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So … Is Pot Legal or Not in Massachusetts?
Jan16

So … Is Pot Legal or Not in Massachusetts?

Despite the support for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent out a federal memo this month that makes the future of cannabis in Massachusetts even more unsure. According to a Gallup poll from 2017, 64 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, which is the highest level of public support they have found in nearly a half decade. Despite this wide public support and...

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O Cannabis: Time to Get Growing
Jan08

O Cannabis: Time to Get Growing

Bay Staters are still waiting for finalized regulations for the commercial recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts, but the regulations around adult recreational use for individuals were established in December 2016. After voters passed Question 4 on the 2016 ballot, lawmakers passed the “Regulation of the Use and Distribution of Marijuana not Medically Prescribed” law that legalized personal use and possession of up to one...

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Cannabis Consultant Ezra Parzybok Talks Marijuana as Medicine in New Book
Jan02

Cannabis Consultant Ezra Parzybok Talks Marijuana as Medicine in New Book

As its medical uses evolve and marijuana becomes legally available for recreation in Massachusetts, an area cannabis consultant is working to fill an information hole he thinks is undermining its use. “In our culture, marijuana is known for all the bad reasons because of its psychoactive abilities,” said Ezra Parzybok of Northampton, author of Cannabis Consulting: Helping Patients, Parents, and Practitioners Understand Medical...

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A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations
Dec26

A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations

Last week I sat down with Karima Rizk for a cup of coffee in her kitchen in Easthampton to discuss her new business, Cafe Vert. The coffee was like many other homebrewed cups of coffee: it was rich, balanced, and welcoming on the brisk December morning. But unlike most cups of coffee, the coffee beans that Rizk used were roasted with CBD (a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis). “What is new, and what we have a gold opportunity to...

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O, Cannabis: The Benefits of Topical Weed
Nov27

O, Cannabis: The Benefits of Topical Weed

To start, an introduction. My name’s Meg, I’m a writer, a farmer, a gardener, a joker, a midnight … I’m the new cannabis columnist. Massachusetts is in the middle of its cannabis revolution and I don’t want you to miss a thing. With a new author comes a new perspective for O, Cannabis! I’m interested in your businesses, your growing techniques, and your medical uses. My hope is that this column will continue to be a hub for...

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O Cannabis: Hey Pilgrim, How Was Your First Weed Harvest? 
Oct23

O Cannabis: Hey Pilgrim, How Was Your First Weed Harvest? 

The harvest is in and I can’t believe the results. My husband and I didn’t weigh our cannabis haul from our home garden, but we were able to fill a bunch of regular-size salsa jars with marijuana. This is more than good enough for me! Like many weed enthusiasts in the state, we enjoyed our first home-grown harvest in October. Strike up the weed exchanges! It’s kind of like a cookie exchange — and there may be cookies — but way danker....

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O Cannabis: A How-To Guide to Harvesting Weed
Sep25

O Cannabis: A How-To Guide to Harvesting Weed

You can smell fall in the air — and in Massachusetts the aroma is a lot danker than usual. This October will mark the first major outdoor weed harvest since people ages 21 and up were given the green light to legally grow marijuana in Massachusetts on Dec. 15, 2016. In May, I wrote a how-to-grow guide and it feels fitting to follow that up with a how-to on harvesting. I spoke with cannabis artist Marty Klein of Easthampton and medical...

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O Cannabis! : Puff Or Pass? Best and Worst Rolling Papers for Your Weed
Aug28

O Cannabis! : Puff Or Pass? Best and Worst Rolling Papers for Your Weed

Rolling papers and Rodney Dangerfield have long had a lot in common: they didn’t get no respect. But as marijuana’s cultural cachet has risen, so too have the quality and variety of smoking equipment. The humble rolling paper has been elevated to prestige level with Shine, a 24-k gold leafed paper that sells for $12 per sheet and, from what I hear, provides a premium smoking experience as the gold flakes off with the burn. Overall,...

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O, Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds On Massachusetts’ Pot Bill
Jul24

O, Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds On Massachusetts’ Pot Bill

We’re no Nevada, but last week Massachusetts took two rippin’ steps toward weed legalization and protection in the state. First the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a business cannot fire an employee for being a medical marijuana patient — a decision that is causing headaches in HR offices around the state who claim it will be difficult to maintain drug-free workplaces. Then the Legislature passed a compromise bill on...

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O Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds Of Massachusetts’ Pot Bill
Jul21

O Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds Of Massachusetts’ Pot Bill

We’re no Nevada, but last week Massachusetts took two rippin’ steps toward weed legalization and protection in the state. First the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a business cannot fire an employee for being a medical marijuana patient — a decision that is causing headaches in HR offices around the state who claim it will be difficult to maintain drug-free workplaces. Then the Legislature passed a compromise bill on...

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Growing Your Own Weed In Massachusetts: A How-To Guide
May22

Growing Your Own Weed In Massachusetts: A How-To Guide

With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, many people with green thumbs are preparing to put their saplings and seeds into the ground — the beginnings of this season’s garden. It’s usually the same old stuff: tomatoes, green beans, peppers, berries, carrots. But this year there will be an exciting, new addition to many home gardens: the gloriously stank-n-dank flower cannabis. Massachusetts is in a hazy space with marijuana at the...

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O, Cannabis! How to Taste the Nuances of Marijuana Like a Pro
Mar27

O, Cannabis! How to Taste the Nuances of Marijuana Like a Pro

Now that marijuana is legal, the perception of the drug is changing. We’re on the road of cannabis no longer being thought of as some seedy contraband in a sandwich bag tossed through a car window to potheads, but a varied, quality — and dare I say, refined — hobby. With the ability to purchase and grow identified strains with known THC and other compound levels, weed smokers can zero-in on the buds they like and sample the best of...

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O, Cannabis! Get Weed Now — No Medical Card Required, if you know where to go
Feb20

O, Cannabis! Get Weed Now — No Medical Card Required, if you know where to go

Standing outside a strip mall in Springfield, I pull on the handle of the double-deadbolted door of a storefront with dark windows and a paper green arrow that says “Herbs” hanging under the company sign, but it doesn’t budge. I can hear men inside talking and laughing, so I give a knock and stare straight into the camera above the door, hoping there’s something in my face that will let the bouncer know I’m cool. Nothing. Do I need to...

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O, Cannabis: Can I Give You Some Weed? and Other Important Questions
Jan23

O, Cannabis: Can I Give You Some Weed? and Other Important Questions

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts on Dec. 15, 2016, but the state is in a legal gray area right now as a system to sell weed is established. The consumption of recreational marijuana is now legal, but the sale of recreational marijuana isn’t yet. That’s quite the conundrum. State lawmakers recently pushed back the open date of recreational marijuana retailers by six months, from January 2018 to July 2018, extending...

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