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Brave new world: Legal pot sales begin Jan. 1 in Sonoma County

Pot around Sonoma County

Three Sonoma County cannabis dispensaries will be open for adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2018:

Solful

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

785 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol

SPARC/Peace in Medicine

10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

6771 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol

Mercy Wellness of Cotati

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

7950 Redwood Drive #8, Cotati

_____

Find more in-depth cannabis news, culture and politics at EmeraldReport.com, authoritative marijuana coverage from the PD.

Marijuana glossary: 10 words every marijuana user needs to know

Marijuana culture has a language all its own. Some of the terms came out of a need for secrecy among users, some of it to explain the various effects, some of it's just industry jargon. But whether you're interested in trying something new or a longtime patient, here are 10 terms you'd better know – because shatter isn't a verb.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): The prominent psychoactive compound found in pot, meaning this is primarily the stuff that makes you feel stoned. THC also seems to help medical patients with pain and increasing appetite. The amount of THC in pot can vary greatly, from relatively mellow (1 percent to 4 percent) to as high as 33 percent, according to this.

CBD (Cannabidoil): The medical cannabis community is very interested in CBD's, another compound found in pot. Unlike THC, cannabinoids aren't about getting you stoned. In fact, CBD's generally don't have a psychoactive effect. They do, however, seem to have medical benefits from nausea suppression to aiding with psychosis and cancer, according to a 2013 study.

Strain: Here's where you get all those crazy names, from Pineapple Express to Sour Diesel. There are thousands of different strains, grown for their unique qualities – higher THC, a certain taste or smell, or as a nod to where the strain came from, such Mendo Gold or Tahoe OG, for example. Strains are either Sativa or Indica based.

Sativa: Less sedative, more cerebral highs, sativa-dominant strains are great for day use. Said to increase creativity, focus and feelings of well-being. You won't get as much of a “couch lock” as indicas.

Indica: More sedative body high. Better for evening use, or times when you want more of a relaxing high. Users like it as a sleep aid, to relieve pain and generally chill.

Dabs: In simple terms, “dabs” are a very concentrated form of cannabis made by extracting THC and cannaboids into butane hash oil. oil. Dabs, also known as wax, shatter, slab or honeycomb, are smoked by putting the butane hash oil on a heated “nail,” a piece of glass or titanium that can be heated with a torch. The heat vaporizes the oil to allow it to be inhaled. The high concentration of THC can make for a super strong high, so it's not recommended for novice pot users. Dabs are especially good for medical patients needing a higher level of pain relief.

Hemp: Pot's nonpsychoactive sibling. Hemp has been grown for millennia, and can be used to make fibers, paper and environmentally safe plastic substitutes as well as for a protein source such as hemp seeds, hemp seed oil and flour. Hemp won't make you high, even if you eat a lot.

Emerald Triangle: The three-county area of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity that's the largest - and some say the best - cannabis-producing region in the U.S.

420: OK, everyone but your grandma knows what 420 means. There have been many stories of how the number came to be associated with smoking pot, including that 420 was a police code for smoking marijuana. The closest anyone can come, however, is that the whole idea started somewhere in Marin with a bunch of high school kids.

Medible: Pot brownies are a thing of the past, sort of. Marijuana edibles are big business now, incorporating pot, usually in the form of oil or butter, into baked goods. There are now all kinds of ingestible marijuana items including teas, soft drinks, popcorn, chocolates and even ice cream. The high of eating your THC's rather than smoking them tends to last far longer.

Bong: Water pipes that come in every shape, size and price range that filter and cool marijuana smoke. They're used by inhaling the smoke through a wide mouthpiece after lighting marijuana packed into a bowl.

Shake: About the lowest form of weed, shake are the leftovers from marijuana buds – mainly the leaves and stems. Some folks use it for making weed butter, but you can also smoke it if you know, you're desperate.

-Heather Irwin

Three Sonoma County cannabis dispensaries will be open for adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2018:

Solful

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

785 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol

SPARC/Peace in Medicine

10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

6771 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol

Mercy Wellness of Cotati

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

7950 Redwood Drive #8, Cotati

Pot around Sonoma County

Sebastopol: Adult-use and medical cannabis sales take place at the city's two dispensaries. Manufacturing and other aspects of the business will be considered in 2018. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Cotati: Allows adult-use and medical cannabis sales at its sole dispensary.

Santa Rosa: Medical marijuana businesses are allowed in the city. Santa Rosa will allow sales of adult-use cannabis on Jan. 19. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Cloverdale: Up to two cannabis dispensaries are allowed in the city, although there are none currently. Manufacturing, distribution and cultivation business permit applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Petaluma: Allows cannabis delivery services and some cannabis manufacturing but has not allowed any dispensaries inside city limits.

Windsor: Dispensaries and other types of cannabis businesses as well as outdoor cultivation is banned in Windsor. Residents must get a town permit for personal-use cultivation, which is only allowed to occur indoors.

Sonoma city: Cannabis cultivation, indoor and outdoor, is banned but the rule will be reconsidered December 2018. Delivery businesses with headquarters outside the city must acquire a city permit to conduct deliveries in the city. Some personal cultivation is allowed but residents must comply with a variety of city requirements like security systems.

Sonoma County: Rules are in places for medical marijuana businesses and supervisors will consider rules for adult use in 2018.

Rohnert Park: Does not all manufacturing, distributing or selling marijuana within city limits.

Healdsburg: Prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.

_____

Find more in-depth cannabis news, culture and politics at EmeraldReport.com, authoritative marijuana coverage from the PD.

An end to cannabis prohibition has arrived in California, and the best advice around for newcomers involves moderation. In other words, don’t eat the whole cookie.

Starting today, adults can buy cannabis without physician recommendations at some dispensaries in the state. In Sonoma County, the doors are opening to anyone 21 and older at two dispensaries in Sebastopol and a third in Cotati.

Jan. 1 is the start of a new era for California’s projected $7 billion cannabis marketplace - the nation’s largest - one being reshaped by taxes and bureaucracy, shedding the trappings of its outlaw roots. On the North Coast, officials and industry leaders hope to capitalize on the Emerald Triangle’s historic role as the state’s prime cannabis-growing region built over generations.

“The era of Prohibition is over. The voice of the voter won the day and recreational cannabis will now be legal,” said State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, whose North Coast district runs from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. “This is going to be the largest cannabis market in North America that has been brought out of the shadows and into the light of a regulated system.”

Since November 2016 when voters passed Prop. 64, adults have been able to lawfully consume pot for nonmedical uses. Today is the first day when adults can walk into a store and buy it.

Marijuana’s legalization will invite a new consumer unfamiliar with the various ways to ingest it, and to the different effects. It’s easy to overdo it for the uninitiated, especially with cannabis-infused edibles like cookies.

Many dispensaries across California will be forced to turn customers without medical marijuana recommendations away until the stores receive state-issued temporary licenses for adult-use sales. Shops in Santa Rosa and unincorporated Sonoma County don’t yet have permission. SPARC/Peace in Medicine and Solful in Sebastopol and Mercy Wellness in Cotati are open for nonmedical sales today.

California expects to rake in an estimated $1 billion in taxes each year from cannabis businesses. In Sonoma County, officials are anticipating $3.6 million in revenue from new cannabis business taxes in the fiscal year that ends in June. That figure is about $300,000 less than earlier estimates before the destructive October fires damaged about 110,000 square feet of crops in the county.

For those involved in the industry, Jan. 1 is monumental and full of mixed emotions.

“There are some winners and losers in the way the money moves, the way the business is taking shape,” said Erich Pearson, founder of SPARC dispensary in San Francisco, which has taken over Peace in Medicine in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. “But at the end of the day, we’re going to have fewer people in jail, specifically people from communities of color disproportionately affected by the drug war.”

Activists long banging the drum, and fighting battles in court, to get people with AIDS and cancer the right to use cannabis worry the recreational market may make it harder for truly ill people to access affordable marijuana. Entrepreneurs determined to legitimize the production of California’s most lucrative crop say the cost of complying with new rules and taxes will lead many businesses to fail.

The cost for one-eighth ounce of dried cannabis flower could rise about 40 percent, at least initially, at some dispensaries from excise and sales taxes before large-scale production pushes prices down. In Cotati, Mercy Wellness founder Brandon Levine said the tax on a one-eighth ounce of dried flower will more than double, raising the total from about $28 to nearly $40.

The breadth of inventory on the shelves may decrease while cultivators, tincture makers, extract makers and others apply for licenses. Over time, the type of longtime cultivator growing cannabis in extra rooms or tucked-away gardens may gradually give it up as corporate farms gain traction.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215 decriminalizing medical marijuana’s use. San Francisco activist Dennis Peron, 72, helped write the voter initiative and is credited with founding the movement, one that was closely tied to the AIDS epidemic and the way cannabis eased symptoms of the disease.

“I am glad to see it legalized in my lifetime,” said Peron, who has been arrested many times for possession and cultivation. “That was my goal 50 years ago. America moves slowly, but it moves.”

Until now, the state had no regulations for marijuana’s production, sale or distribution, adding to decadeslong tension between cultivators and law enforcement. And with marijuana production so prolific on the North Coast, robbery and violence have been closely tied to its production. Legal or not, it’s a cash industry. Most banks, federally insured, won’t work with cannabis businesses because of the threat of a costly audit.

Pot around Sonoma County

Three Sonoma County cannabis dispensaries will be open for adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2018:

Solful

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

785 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol

SPARC/Peace in Medicine

10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

6771 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol

Mercy Wellness of Cotati

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

7950 Redwood Drive #8, Cotati

_____

Find more in-depth cannabis news, culture and politics at EmeraldReport.com, authoritative marijuana coverage from the PD.

Marijuana glossary: 10 words every marijuana user needs to know

Marijuana culture has a language all its own. Some of the terms came out of a need for secrecy among users, some of it to explain the various effects, some of it's just industry jargon. But whether you're interested in trying something new or a longtime patient, here are 10 terms you'd better know – because shatter isn't a verb.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): The prominent psychoactive compound found in pot, meaning this is primarily the stuff that makes you feel stoned. THC also seems to help medical patients with pain and increasing appetite. The amount of THC in pot can vary greatly, from relatively mellow (1 percent to 4 percent) to as high as 33 percent, according to this.

CBD (Cannabidoil): The medical cannabis community is very interested in CBD's, another compound found in pot. Unlike THC, cannabinoids aren't about getting you stoned. In fact, CBD's generally don't have a psychoactive effect. They do, however, seem to have medical benefits from nausea suppression to aiding with psychosis and cancer, according to a 2013 study.

Strain: Here's where you get all those crazy names, from Pineapple Express to Sour Diesel. There are thousands of different strains, grown for their unique qualities – higher THC, a certain taste or smell, or as a nod to where the strain came from, such Mendo Gold or Tahoe OG, for example. Strains are either Sativa or Indica based.

Sativa: Less sedative, more cerebral highs, sativa-dominant strains are great for day use. Said to increase creativity, focus and feelings of well-being. You won't get as much of a “couch lock” as indicas.

Indica: More sedative body high. Better for evening use, or times when you want more of a relaxing high. Users like it as a sleep aid, to relieve pain and generally chill.

Dabs: In simple terms, “dabs” are a very concentrated form of cannabis made by extracting THC and cannaboids into butane hash oil. oil. Dabs, also known as wax, shatter, slab or honeycomb, are smoked by putting the butane hash oil on a heated “nail,” a piece of glass or titanium that can be heated with a torch. The heat vaporizes the oil to allow it to be inhaled. The high concentration of THC can make for a super strong high, so it's not recommended for novice pot users. Dabs are especially good for medical patients needing a higher level of pain relief.

Hemp: Pot's nonpsychoactive sibling. Hemp has been grown for millennia, and can be used to make fibers, paper and environmentally safe plastic substitutes as well as for a protein source such as hemp seeds, hemp seed oil and flour. Hemp won't make you high, even if you eat a lot.

Emerald Triangle: The three-county area of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity that's the largest - and some say the best - cannabis-producing region in the U.S.

420: OK, everyone but your grandma knows what 420 means. There have been many stories of how the number came to be associated with smoking pot, including that 420 was a police code for smoking marijuana. The closest anyone can come, however, is that the whole idea started somewhere in Marin with a bunch of high school kids.

Medible: Pot brownies are a thing of the past, sort of. Marijuana edibles are big business now, incorporating pot, usually in the form of oil or butter, into baked goods. There are now all kinds of ingestible marijuana items including teas, soft drinks, popcorn, chocolates and even ice cream. The high of eating your THC's rather than smoking them tends to last far longer.

Bong: Water pipes that come in every shape, size and price range that filter and cool marijuana smoke. They're used by inhaling the smoke through a wide mouthpiece after lighting marijuana packed into a bowl.

Shake: About the lowest form of weed, shake are the leftovers from marijuana buds – mainly the leaves and stems. Some folks use it for making weed butter, but you can also smoke it if you know, you're desperate.

-Heather Irwin

Three Sonoma County cannabis dispensaries will be open for adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2018:

Solful

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

785 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol

SPARC/Peace in Medicine

10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

6771 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol

Mercy Wellness of Cotati

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

7950 Redwood Drive #8, Cotati

Pot around Sonoma County

Sebastopol: Adult-use and medical cannabis sales take place at the city's two dispensaries. Manufacturing and other aspects of the business will be considered in 2018. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Cotati: Allows adult-use and medical cannabis sales at its sole dispensary.

Santa Rosa: Medical marijuana businesses are allowed in the city. Santa Rosa will allow sales of adult-use cannabis on Jan. 19. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Cloverdale: Up to two cannabis dispensaries are allowed in the city, although there are none currently. Manufacturing, distribution and cultivation business permit applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Petaluma: Allows cannabis delivery services and some cannabis manufacturing but has not allowed any dispensaries inside city limits.

Windsor: Dispensaries and other types of cannabis businesses as well as outdoor cultivation is banned in Windsor. Residents must get a town permit for personal-use cultivation, which is only allowed to occur indoors.

Sonoma city: Cannabis cultivation, indoor and outdoor, is banned but the rule will be reconsidered December 2018. Delivery businesses with headquarters outside the city must acquire a city permit to conduct deliveries in the city. Some personal cultivation is allowed but residents must comply with a variety of city requirements like security systems.

Sonoma County: Rules are in places for medical marijuana businesses and supervisors will consider rules for adult use in 2018.

Rohnert Park: Does not all manufacturing, distributing or selling marijuana within city limits.

Healdsburg: Prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.

_____

Find more in-depth cannabis news, culture and politics at EmeraldReport.com, authoritative marijuana coverage from the PD.

California is the eighth state to enable marijuana’s recreational use and commerce. Another 21 states allow some degree of medical use. But marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and considered a controlled substance without recognized health benefit.

Last year, California produced at least 13.5 million pounds of cannabis, but only consumed an estimated 2.5 million pounds. The rest, presumably, left the state.

“It’s the violence that it brings that is the greatest concern to me, together with increased use and people getting behind the wheel to drive,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. “I don’t think that danger will in any way be reduced by virtue of the legalization of marijuana in California alone, unfortunately.”

Without the availability of federal funding because of marijuana’s status in federal laws, too few studies have been done to determine precisely how to measure cannabis intoxication, Ravitch said. She hopes that will change.

Cal NORML, a cannabis advocacy and lobbying group, Friday publicly urged people against driving while high, and offered information like the delayed-effect of eating cannabis-infused foods, which can take one or two hours to take effect. Smartphone applications like My Canary or DRUID can help people decide whether they are impaired, according to Cal NORML.

In the coming year, McGuire said his top priority will be pushing tweaks to state regulations to ensure the cannabis regulations achieve the state’s primary goal: bringing cannabis operators into the legal marketplace.

McGuire will also be proposing rules allowing for cannabis tourism, which many anticipate as a major draw for the North Coast.

“My hope, if we do this right, is that people will flock here from around the country as they already do for world class Sonoma County wine,” said McGuire. “The North Coast grows the most premium cannabis in the country.”

This year will be a painful transition period for many involved in cannabis trying to meet the costly regulatory hurdles, from building ADA compliant facilities to paying new taxes in order to become a legitimate cannabis business, said Santa Rosa attorney and former city council member Erin Carlstrom. Carlstrom is now part of a four-person cannabis team at Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty, a firm that for about 50 years has focused on the alcohol industry.

“Jan. 1 represents a huge disruption. No one is lawfully able to do business unless they have their state temporary license, and there are so few people across the state who have that in contrast to the number of operators out there,” Carlstrom said.

But there are expected to be thousands of first-time and novice users. Mitcho Thompson of Sebastopol has for more than a decade been teaching people what he knows about how to consume marijuana, and the biggest lesson is to start small. In 2014 when marijuana sales began in Colorado, the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation launched a “First Time 5” campaign to educate novice consumers about dosage and tolerance.

“You can’t actually OD on it,” said Mitcho Thompson, vice president of the Americans for Safe Access’ Sonoma County chapter, said. “It could give you a very bad panic attack though because plants do that.”

Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic of people coming into most dispensaries, said Thompson, a former community liaison with SPARC in Sebastopol.

In a community room at Santa Rosa’s Oakmont community in October, Thompson had more than 70 members of the Oakmont Cannabis Club examining dried buds with a magnifying glass to show them the shining trichomes and other parts of the plant. It was the club’s third meeting since a community vote allowed them to form in June, and members asked questions about how to use it for issues like arthritis, back pain and insomnia.

He told them about a 72-year-old woman who purchased a ginger granola bar from the medical marijuana dispensary in the hopes it would help her manage pain and stop using a prescribed narcotic. Later, she called the dispensary to say she had eaten the entire bar and was feeling incredibly anxious.

“I said, “Eat ice cream and watch cartoons, you will be fine,” Thompson said. “She did. She called back later and said she was OK.”

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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