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Weekly Cannabis News

February 18th– February 25th , 2022

2021 Marked a 72% Increase in Cannabis-Related Jobs in Michigan

Michigan is placed in the 3rd position behind California and Colorado in terms of newly added full-time cannabis jobs

With more and more US states legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, it does not come as a surprise to see an increase in cannabis-related jobs. More specifically, the cannabis job market reported a 250% growth from 2017 to 2022, with 33% from 2021 to 2022. [1]  This was needed to match the annual cannabis spending by US consumers ($25B), behind beer, wine, and nutritional supplements.

While California and Colorado remain the top two states with the most cannabis-related jobs as of January 2022, Michigan is a surprisingly close contender for the 2nd place.  As such, the state added 13 074 jobs in 2021, reaching 31 152 full-time legal cannabis jobs. This helped support the $1.79 cannabis sales during the last year.

Michigan legalized cannabis use for medical purposes in 2008 with the passage of Proposal 1, the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative, and for recreational purposes in 2018, making it the first Midwestern state to do so. [2],[3]

Cannabis Companies are Partnering Up with Schools to Help Promote Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry

Scholarships will be given to individuals impacted by the war of drugs who hope to learn about the cannabis industry

Two cannabis companies, Terrapin and JARS Cannabis, are teaming up with Higher Learning Institutions, Michigan’s first licensed vocational and technical school for cannabis, to provide scholarships for those who have been affected by the war on drugs. Terrapin strives to lead the cannabis industry in a socially conscious movement via supporting communities through advocacy, innovative environmental practices, and collaboration with social justice community programs and efforts. [4] JARS Cannabis is a progressive dispensary that provides a welcoming environment to answer medical and lifestyle needs for recreational marijuana. [5]

They plan to offer up to 20 000$ for 20 scholarships in a program called “Cannabis Community Social Equity Scholarship”, for those who reside in impacted communities, have had marijuana related convictions, or people who have been registered as primary caregivers in Michigan. [6]

This comes at a good time when Michigan is making its way up towards the addition of new cannabis-related jobs.

Tennessee is Set to Open Its First Cannabis Restaurant: Will This Be the New Norm?

May 2022 may go down in history as the month in which cannabis-based products were sold in a restaurant for the first time in Tennessee

Exciting and novel news are coming to Germantown, a city near Memphis, Tennessee, with the opening of the first cannabis restaurant this spring. But what does this mean? How can customers be able to consume cannabis-based products in a state in which cannabis is illegal for both medical and recreational uses?

This is due to the signature of the Agriculture Improvement Act or Farm Bill in 2018, which removed hemp and cannabis derivates with less than 0.3% of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). [7]  As such, the restaurant is its full legal rights to serve cannabis-based products as long as they do not contain more than 0.3% of ∆9-THC.

The menu will partner with Craft Cannabis to serve its traditional food items, but customers will be able to pair them with infused condiments, which will come with dosing spoons, or in infused desserts and drinks.  However, these items will only be consumed inside the restaurant.

Owner & President of Craft Cannabis, Michael Salomon mentioned: “this is the right time and location in Germantown for us to be able to offer this truly unique infused culinary experience for patrons. At Buds & Brews, there will be something for everyone.” [8]

Using Zebrafish as a Model Organism to Understand the Effects of Cannabis in Humans

Why are zebrafish used in scientific research, and can they be used an important model organism to study the effects of cannabis in humans?

We are all aware that mice and rats are the most used animal models to study the effects of a particular drug to treat a disease in so called “preclinical studies”.  However, other organisms have been used by research scientists, one of which is the use of zebrafish. These are tropical fresh-water fish native to Southeast Asia, with a length of about 2.5cm to 4cm. There are several reasons why this represents a valuable model organism to study human genetics and disease:

  • their complete genome was published in 2013, with approximately 70% being similar to humans, and 84% known to be associated with human disease have a zebrafish counterpart [9]
  • small and robust
  • cheaper to maintain than mice
  • easier to perform genetic manipulation
  • produce hundreds of offspring, allowing scientists to have a larger study sample size

Because of the above reasons, zebrafish may represent an interesting and alternative model to study the effects of cannabis in humans.

As such, Bailone et al., wrote a review article summarizing key studies testing cannabis-based medicines in human diseases using zebrafish as an animal model (e.g., epilepsy and anxiety, teratogenicity, and neurotoxicity). [10]  They also discussed how differences and similarities in the endocannabinoid system between zebrafish and humans, and how the immune and neurological systems communicate with the endocannabinoid system in zebrafish.

The authors concluded: “this model proves to be effective in elucidating eCB system and also immunological and toxicological responses to various drugs, including Cannabis and its components, and therefore has great potential and extreme relevance for research in the pharmacological area… However, a disadvantage of this model would the lack of current supporting legislation, therefore, governmental, and non-governmental entities, both public and private, must make an effort to draw up applicable standards in the context of the use of this animal model.”

References

[1] https://leafly-cms-production.imgix.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/22132544/LeaflyJobsReport2022.pdf, assessed on February 25th, 2022

[2] http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(1afpvt1aoevbumozt34x3ibh))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Initiated-Law-1-of-2008

[3] https://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Publications/BallotProps/Proposal18-1.pdf

[4] https://terrapin.co/, assessed on February 25th, 2022

[5] https://jarscannabis.com/, assessed on February 25th, 2022

[6] https://thecannabisindustry.org/ncias-social-equity-scholarship-program/, assessed on February 25th, 2022

[7] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485, assessed on February 25th, 2022

[8] https://tntribune.com/tennessees-first-cannabis-restaurant-coming-to-germantown-in-late-spring-2022/, assessed on February 25th, 2022

[9] Howe K, Clark MD, Torroja CF, et al. The zebrafish reference genome sequence and its relationship to the human genome. Nature 2013;496(7446):498-503. DOI: 10.1038/nature12111

[10] Bailone RL, Fukushima HCS, de Aguiar LK, Borra RC. The endocannabinoid system in zebrafish and its potential to study the effects of Cannabis in humans. Lab Anim Res 2022;38(1):5. DOI: 10.1186/s42826-022-00116-5

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Author Yoel H. Sitbon

Yoel is a Medical Writer in the Medical Content division at Csequence. His scientific expertise is in Neuroscience (neural mechanisms behind drug addiction) and Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology (molecular mechanisms behind mutations induced cardiovascular diseases). Yoel has over five years of scientific writing experience as evidenced by 8 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals. He is an effective oral communicator having presented his PhD thesis work at many biomedical conferences nationally. He also has strong mentorship and leadership experience. Yoel has a B.S in Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

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