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  • 7 Jul 2018 3:22 PM | C.

    One major barrier to bettering the social perception of medical marijuana use is the low hygienic standard we keep dfour equipment to, because the easy way to clean glassware was never taught to many. The compounds in marijuana are not soluble in water, which means they stick on everything. Old crusty bong water and resin on pipes not only smell awful, but are residual compounds that will get partially ingested the next time you use your piece. It also provides matter with which bacteria and mold can incubate on. We would never treat any other piece of medical equipment this way! So here I outline what I use and why and how I keep it sanitized.

    If I learned one thing from working in a lab, it’s to appreciate glass. Glass is a magnificent material, neither liquid nor solid, very stable and nonvolatile to chemicals, and so smooth and clear. Glass can withstand the heat of a lighter without melting or changing, and, if cleaned properly, glass can be completely contaminant-free with unlimited regeneration potential. This means that it can literally last forever (unless an unfortunate accident breaks it).

     I use a single-chamber water bong with an ice-catcher as my staple. I like the water bong with ice, because it filters some soluble compounds out and cools and condenses the smoke. The shape doesn’t really matter, but some shapes are easier to clean than others, so keep that in mind. I keep it clean by washing it every 2 weeks or so for 15 minutes using 91% v/v isopropyl alcohol, salt, and a toothpick (total cost ~$10/year materials can be found at any local pharmacy/store).

    It’s really a fascinating scientific procedure: we will be dissolving the resin in an amphipathic (has properties that can dissolve both salts and fats) organic solvent, isopropyl alcohol. The salt we use as an abrasive to scrub away large pieces. Here’s the general protocol:

    1. Separate out all parts and set them close to you, but not in a precarious position. Make sure they won’t be bumped or broken!
    2. Fill the bowl piece with salt – this will most likely be the dirtiest part of the piece. 
    3.  Slowly cover the salt in the bowl piece with the alcohol and use the toothpick to scrub the sides of the bowl with the salt/alcohol mixture (I use a circular motion, like I’m scraping out the last ice cream out of the bowl).
    4. Add more alcohol if necessary and repeat until most of salt has gone down into the piece.
    5. Cover holes of the piece, grip well, and shake the mixture around. The salt/alcohol mixture should be “slushing” around inside.
    6.  Rinse with hot water – as hot as you can handle.
    7. If there is still some resin stuck, repeat step 3-5 and use the toothpick to try to dislodge it.
    8. Once totally clean, rinse with hot water for 30 seconds and let dry.

    It’s easiest to do this with a new piece and really get into the habit of doing it every couple weeks. Seriously, it’s about the same amount of time as doing the dishes. Once a lot of resin has accumulated it gets harder and harder to make it completely clean. However, all glass can be completely cleaned. If you’re having a lot of trouble, try soaking the piece in alcohol overnight before cleaning. Here's a picture of what it looks like right now (after 2.5 years of use as my staple piece).

    Keeping your piece clean will vastly improve the experience of smoking out of it. It allows you to use different strains of marijuana and have a more accurate perception of the cannabinoid profile of the strain you’re using and how it therapeutically benefits you. It also keeps your home from smelling (if you are renting or concerned with that)!

  • 3 Jul 2018 12:39 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Women in Cannabis: These 9 Women Are Stirring the Pot in Massachusetts

    By Srividya Kalyanaraman

    As Massachusetts looks at making recreational marijuana available for adult-use, it is simultaneously legalizing a large but illicit industry while making it conducive for a startup system to flourish. As the retail cannabis industry looks to reach a billion dollars by 2020, it is inevitably attracting top talent — with a lot of diversity.

    As we look to track the fledgling industry, here are nine women who are stirring the pot in Massachusetts.

    Shaleen Title, commissioner, Cannabis Control Commission

    Image Courtesy: Cannabis Control Commission

    For Shaleen Title, being associated with marijuana was something the activist in her sought out. She got involved in marijuana advocacy in 2002 after she heard an ACLU speaker mention that black and latino population were 57% more likely to be incarcerated for a mandatory drug minimum. She went to Law School at the University of Illinois and that’s where she worked on her first campaign in Colorado and Massachusetts. Title was on the staff for the campaign that first legalized marijuana in the United States — Amendment 64 in Colorado was a initiative ballot measure to amend the Constitution of the State of Colorado, outlining a statewide drug policy for cannabis.

    As a commissioner of the Cannabis Control Commission, she  is proud of creating a modern oversight agency from scratch and developing a fully electronic licensing system. Her pet project however is the social equity program which aims to promote entrepreneurs from communities that are disproportionately impacted under marijuana prohibition. “I will be very proud if we measure the impact of our social equity program and have a model for other states to follow.”

    Ellen Brown, founder, Sinsemella Seminars

    Image courtesy: Ellen Brown, Founder, Sinsemella Seminars

    After graduating high school, brown left to become a nutritionist for the US Air Force where she did one on one counseling. After that stint, Brown moved to northern California where she worked an entry level job at medical marijuana dispensary, trimming and curing cannabis. She moved back home to Massachusetts in 2012, when the state was voting for a medical marijuana program.

    She saw an opportunity there to combine her nutrition experience with cannabis education to hold seminars and workshops for people entering the business including veterans. Brown’s firm also works with cannabis healthcare facilities to promote awareness. “I’d like to see cannabis education at the forefront in academic research. The emerging green industry could be a paradigm shift in healthcare and unjust incarceration.”

    Aja Atwood, CEO, Trella Technologies

    Image Courtesy:

    Aja Atwood, CEO of Trella Technologies, a company that makes plant-training devices for indoor growing, started off her career as an engineering consultant and specialist, working in natural catastrophe risk engineering.  After struggling to grow tall cannabis plants in a small basement, Atwood conceptualized Trella, an automated plant training system for restrictive indoor spaces. Through a community outreach initiative called SXG1, the company has decided to gift their production-ready plant training system to independent growers, including state-registered medicinal cannabis caregivers and non-profit urban farmers.

    “We want to be a shining example of a successful tech company based on a social responsibility model. As the cannabis industry grows, the community that supports it should grow as well.”

    Beth Waterfall, founder & executive director, Elevate NE

    Image courtesy: Beth Waterfall, Elevate NE

    Beth Waterfall, who used to be a marketing executive for lawyers and financial services came to work in cannabis when she first became a patient in 2015.

    Waterfall says that her loss of a friend to cancer and a grandparent to dementia made her think that if we had easy access to the plant, perhaps her loved ones could have suffered less. And so she started her stint in the cannabis industry by donning two hats — as an activist and a marketing consultant. Today her firm does marketing for law and tech firms in the marijuana space. “I feel like it’s my divine purpose to connect people  and to normalize this through education about cannabis.”

    Emily Elmen, Head Chef, In Good Health

    Image courtesy: Emily Peck, Good Health

    For Emily Elmen, the decision to work in cannabis came quick — right after she baked her first batch of brownies more than ten years ago. After experimenting a bunch in her own kitchen, Peck decided to explore the lay of the cannabis land when she enrolled for Cannabis Knowledge Forum, a training school started in Mass. She was also a co-host of the Boston Pot Report. She was soon elected to the board of MassCann Norml, the state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a non-profit public education organization working for the moderation of marijuana laws and raised money for legalization.

    At Good Health, which is a medical marijuana dispensary in Brockton, Peck is the head chef and product developer where she develops new cannabis-infused products like salad dressing, barbecue sauce, broccoli cheddar soup, apple cider and infused sugar. “Cannabis is safer than alcohol,” she said. “I am proud to be in this field where I can expand my reach, and make these products in a safe environment.”

    Marion McNabb, CEO of Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN)

    Image courtesy: Marion McNabb, C3RN

    Marion McNabb’s expertise in cannabis finds roots in her work in public health. Following her work in Africa and Haiti where she implemented sexual and reproductive health programs, McNabb now wants to use digital health tools for furthering academic research in cannabis. McNabb envisions C3RN as being a virtual cannabis center of excellence to promote a balanced research agenda for cannabis. “Cannabis research today is underfunded and it takes a long time for academics to conduct studies,” she said. “Our vision is to create a repository of data, best practices and aid the communication between academia and the cannabis community. In three years, the industry will look to us and see value in it.”


    Laura Beohner, President & Co-Founder, The Healing Rose company

    Image courtesy: Laura Beohner, The Healing Rose company

    A medical marijuana patient of six years, Laura Boehner went to college with the intent of becoming a cannabis entrepreneur. Boehner became a proponent of the plant after she used a cannabis salve on her dislocated knee cap. When she finished school at Northeastern University, she started as chairperson for Womengro, that is now Elevate New England. Andover-based Healing Rose, where Laura is a co-founder and president, makes bodycare products from organic CBD oil like salve, body oils, essential oils, butter. “I want Healing Rose to become a national brand I hope that cannabis becomes a diverse industry with an open market with lots of different businesses.”

    Mikki Bennett, CEO, Healing Tree Edibles

    Image courtesy: Mikki Bennett, Healing Tree Edlibles

    For Mikki Benett, who makes cannabis-infused granola bars and healthy snacks, the pull towards cannabis was strong. First when her 22-year-old cousin was diagnosed with brain cancer and when she herself went through a major ankle surgery. Benett refused to take opiates for painkillers and chose cannabis chocolates instead.

    After being bedridden for six months and getting better without opiates, Bennett realized that she wanted to help people like her get better. “My vision is to have cannabis be an accessible medicine which can help with PTSD, anxiety and are safer alternative to opiates.”


    TaShonda Vincent Lee, Cofounder & Director of Community Outreach at ELEVATE NE

    Image Courtesy: TaShonda Vincent Lee, Co-founder Elevate NE

    TaShonda Vincent Lee came to Ccannabis by way of being a medical marijuana patient. Lee was prescribed medications – psychotropics for PTSD and ADHD, but she was acutely aware that the medication did not improve her life and she did not like the side effects. When Lee lost her wife, she was prescribed Xanax and as she puts it, “the cocktail did not work for me at all.” When she moved to Massachusetts from North Carolina, she got enrolled in the medical marijuana program and immediately noticed a difference. Lee used to be a drug addiction counselor working with pregnant women and substance abuse. “There were a lot of folks who would express to me that they were doing alright when they were smoking weed. What I noticed that it wasn’t cannabis that did harm but the prohibition.” Lee is working on setting up a consultancy for cannabis entrepreneurs of color, training them to have skills in business development, branding, marketing and project development.

    “I approach this from a restorative justice perspective — my dream is take something that’s been so harmful to my community and the legal implications, and turn it around and use it to help you — then I can say I have done my job. Want to get as many marginalized populations into cannabis as possible.”


    July 3, 2018

  • 29 Jun 2018 12:37 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    National marijuana survey plan announced by Massachusetts consultant and UMass-Dartmouth

    By Mike Plaisance

    Updated at 5:52 p.m. Friday, June 29, 2018 to note that Dr. Marion McNabb is a public health doctor.

    HOLYOKE -- The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network of Somerville Thursday said it will work with the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth to mount a national survey of marijuana use.

    "The survey is aimed to better understand consumer/patient demographics, attitudes, choices, methods of consumption and knowledge of cannabis products in legal cannabis states," a press release said.

    Dr. Marion McNabb, a public health doctor and CEO and co-founder of the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network ("C3RN"), said she was announcing the survey Thursday at an event in Worcester.

    The plan for the survey was approved by the institutional review board of UMass-Dartmouth and findings are to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and provided at conferences and forums, the press release said.

    "Information from the national anonymous cannabis survey will be used to improve the understanding of the consumer and patient population as the new legal adult-use markets open across the United States and in Massachusetts this summer," the press release said.

    The survey will begin in a few weeks and last through 2020, the press release said.

    C3RN, a marijuana industry consultant and advocate, led a forum here May 29 on marijuana's potential to replace opioids for pain relief.

    McNabb also said June 20 C3RN was beginning a project to research marijuana with AmeriCann Inc., a company based in Denver, Colorado that Reuters says handles consulting, design, construction and financing for marijuana businesses.

    Little science-based findings exist regarding the impact of marijuana physically, emotionally, economically and socially, McNabb and other officials have said.

    Together with the announcement of the national survey with UMass-Dartmouth, the marijuana research is intended to add scientific knowledge to what is a burgeoning industry, the press release said.

    "There is a benefit for everyone: Medical cannabis research, as noted in the 2017 Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Report, has historically been suppressed through strict regulations and lack of funding," the press release said.

    "However, globally evidence is emerging around the promising medical value for a variety of health conditions. C3RN is creating a patient and community-led resource to find the science and facts, participate in research studies, and connect with academics, experts, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders."

    McNabb said the hope of C3RN is that the survey with UMass-Dartmouth is the start of "many" such research collaborations.

    "We are quite excited to launch this study with UMass Dartmouth and to initiate cooperative research between academia, healthcare providers and the cannabis industry to explore more deeply about medical cannabis and adult use consumers," she said in the press release.

    D. Steven White, professor of marketing and international business at UMass-Dartmouth, said it was rare that faculty researchers can witness the beginnings of such a rapidly growing industry as marijuana.

    "Growth in the legalized recreational cannabis market, along with the expansion of medical cannabis, is expected to outpace the growth of cable television and the internet, becoming a $40 billion industry in the U.S. within the next decade. We consider ourselves fortunate to collaborate with C3RN to investigate consumer behavior in the cannabis industry," White said in the press release.

  • 27 Jun 2018 12:33 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Worcester cannabis convention set for Thursday

    JUNE 27, 2018

    Worcester cannabis convention set for Thursday


    Marijuana plants growing at Sira Naturals' Milford facility


    With Worcester County poised to be the hot spot for the legal marijuana market, one group hopes to help educate the 16 companies looking to do business in the county.

    Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, based in Somerville, is holding an event at Mechanics Hall on Thursday night to educate companies on best cultivation and extraction practices.

    The event will feature eight speakers, including publicly traded medical cannabis facility designer AmeriCann's CEO Tim Keough and other industry experts. Event topics include sustainable cultivation standards and operating procedures, extraction methods, sustainable energy use, indoor vs. outdoor growing and lighting and HVAC systems.

    The event starts at 6 p.m., and tickets are $40.

    Worcester County has the most business license applications by far, with 16. The next closest county, Bristol, has eight.

    Sira Naturals, which cultivates marijuana in a Milford facility, was awarded the state's first cultivation license earlier this month.

  • 26 Jun 2018 12:34 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Massachusetts consultant leading research into marijuana on cusp of industry boom

    By Mike Plaisance

    HOLYOKE -- As the industry begins to erupt, research to explain the impact of marijuana physically, emotionally, economically and socially is in its infancy, a void a Somerville firm wants to begin filling.

    "One of the most commonly heard statements in the industry is that we need more research," said Dr. Marion McNabb, a physician and CEO and co-founder of the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network ("C3RN"), of Somerville.

    "We at 'C3RN' intend to develop mechanisms to engage the community in participatory research to contribute to the evidence base and translate findings into practice," she said in an email Monday. (see Q&A below)

    C3RN announced the plan to do research June 20 with AmeriCann Inc., a company based in Denver, Colorado that Reuters says handles consulting, design, construction and financing for marijuana businesses.

    AmeriCann and C3RN will do research to improve the understanding about the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and the product offerings. Also involved in the research will be BASK Inc., a medical marijuana facility in Fairhaven, Massachusetts with ties to AmeriCann.

    That's according to, a firm based in Chicago, Illinois that provides investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, its website said.

    C3RN led a forum here May 29 on marijuana's potential to replace opioids for pain relief.

    'Cannabis slowly but surely playing role' in pain treatment, says panelist in Holyoke forum (photos)

    'Cannabis slowly but surely playing role' in pain treatment, says panelist in Holyoke forum (photos)

    Marijuana as a gateway to using other drugs? That's a myth, said a Massachusetts General Hospital physician.

    The C3RN-AmeriCann announcement comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drug whose ingredients include marijuana. Epidiolex will treat two rare forms of epilepsy that begin in childhood, as reported Monday by The Associated Press (AP).

    In a sign of the complexity of what marijuana offers, and which supporters say underscores the need for research, the ingredient used in Epidiolex is a purified form of a chemical found in the cannabis plant but is not the one that gets users high, AP reported.

    "It's not yet clear why the ingredient, called cannabidiol, or CBD, reduces seizures in some people with epilepsy," AP reported.

    Marijuana sales are projected to hit $450 million in Massachusetts this year, and in Colorado, which began permitting retail sales of marijuana in January 2014, the figure is expected to hit $1.3 billion in 2018. That's according to a presentation made at a forum in Hancock in the Berkshires June 14 by Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., a former state senator and the co-founder of the Berkshire Roots medical marijuana dispensary that opened in March in Pittsfield. 

    AmeriCann is building a 53-acre "Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center" in the Bristol County town of Freetown, Massachusetts.

    The plan is for the facility of nearly 1 million square feet to include multiple tenants opening businesses in phases for medical cannabis cultivation and processing. BASK is scheduled to be the first tenant.

    Million-square-foot marijuana growing facility to open this fall in Massachusetts

    Million-square-foot marijuana growing facility to open this fall in Massachusetts

    Tucked away on 53 acres of land in a small Bristol County town, a million-square-foot facility is being built to meet the growing demand for marijuana in Massachusetts.

    AmeriCann bought the land in Freetown in fall 2016 for nearly $4.5 million from Boston Beer Company, the makers of Samuel Adams. 

    Relationships such as C3RN working with AmeriCann are necessary to mount comprehensive explorations into the effects and benefits of marijuana using sophisticated research techniques, McCann said.

    "There is a lot known about cannabis and its potentially useful medical benefits. In some cases the evidence is conclusive, and other cases we still need further inquiry," she said.

    Increased availability of marijuana products from edibles to oils has yet to be accompanied by findings on its effects, a national report said.

    "The growing acceptance, accessibility, and use of cannabis raise important public health concerns, and there is a clear need to establish what is known and what needs to be known about the health effects of cannabis use," said the 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

    C3RN is a marijuana industry consultant and advocate. The organization describes itself on its website as "a group of like minded cannabis industry, advocacy, academic, public health, clinical, patient, policy, and community experts that embrace open-source principles to drive collaborative science in the cannabis industry."

    Here's The Republican's Q&A with Dr. Marion McNabb, a physician and CEO and co-founder of the Cannabis Community Care and Research  Network (C3RN) of Somerville:

    Q: What kinds of areas specifically will such research explore? For instance, at the (C3RN) forum in Holyoke, it was discussed that possibly certain strains of marijuana were more effective in addressing certain illnesses.

    A: We (C3RN and AmeriCann) are in the process of developing a full research plan that will cover studying various aspects of cannabis and its impact on health, social, and economic outcomes over the next few months as AmeriCann applies for a cannabis research. This partnership will seed the start of the community information and data analytic resource that C3RN plans to expand to many partners to better understand cannabis users and patients while improving the quality of services. As a collaboration, C3RN and AmeriCann will also be doing research related to cultivation and extraction, identifying optimal techniques, approaches, and best practices that can be shared with the wider cannabis community. We will also be exploring innovative ways to collect and share data through digital research tools. Other projects that C3RN and AmeriCann plan to work on include C3RN providing access to the latest scientific and clinical information available in the literature for AmeriCann and partner Bask to utilize when planning cultivation, research, and development activities.  

    Q: Will both companies be doing the actual research -- interviewing people, pouring over files, etc.?

    A: C3RN will be the primary research lead in the partnership, working to ensure appropriate study designs are implemented and ethical approval and review of research studies is facilitated. Future academic partnerships will be founded on discovery, product innovation, and open leadership to raise the bar in the cannabis industry in Massachusetts. We hope that models and data resulting from this partnership co-developed with other partners in MA will pave the way for a participatory driven cannabis research industry in Massachusetts.  

    Q: When will the researching begin and when will findings be released?

    A: AmeriCann and C3RN have immediately started on developing a full research agenda for the partnership, including, what are the main areas of research, and who are the additional partners we will work with on future studies. C3RN will be announcing additional research partners over the next few weeks.

    Q: Please discuss how doing such research is beneficial to the public?

    A: There is a lot known about cannabis and its potentially useful medical benefits. In some cases the evidence is conclusive, and other cases we still need further inquiry. C3RN utilizes the Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Report authored by the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering as a base for all future cannabis research inquiry. For the last 70 years, academics and the cannabis industry have faced serious regulatory and funding hurdles that have prohibited the advancement of medical research on cannabis. The report shows the barriers and proposed directions for the academic industry, including providing recommendations for future inquiry.

  • 4 Jun 2018 12:29 PM | Marion (Administrator)

    Marijuana webinar: addressing racial disparity in arrests by making cannabis industry fair to all

    By Mike Plaisance

    HOLYOKE -- States across the country are legalizing marijuana for use as medicine and for fun but the altering views on pot come after decades of drug laws disproportionately affecting blacks and Latinos.

    That's next up for the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN).

    The Somerville-based industry advocate and consultant will host a free webinar from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday "Data and Tools to Advocate Locally for an Equitable Cannabis Industry," an email from C3RN said.

    C3RN held a forum here last week on use of marijuana as an alternative for pain treatment to opioids. (see video above)

    'Cannabis slowly but surely playing role' in pain treatment, says panelist in Holyoke forum (photos)

    'Cannabis slowly but surely playing role' in pain treatment, says panelist in Holyoke forum (photos)

    Marijuana as a gateway to using other drugs? That's a myth, said a Massachusetts General Hospital physician.

    "Webinar" is shorthand for a conference conducted online.

    Speakers during the webinar are set to include Shaleen Title, a member of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Sarah Trocchio, a doctoral candidate in criminal justice at Rutgers University-Newark and Kamani Jefferson of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council.

    The Council is a nonprofit that works to ensure that the marijuana industry is safe for large and small markets and that the products available to consumers have variety and quality.

    Click here to register to participate in the webinar.

    The New York Times reported May 13 that in the first three months of 2018, 89 percent of the roughly 4,000 people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City were black or Hispanic. 

    Five years ago, The Times cited a study of federal data that showed blacks were four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, though marijuana use among blacks and whites was roughly equal. The study was done by the American Civil Liberties Union and much of the data was independently reviewed for The New York Times by researchers at Stanford University, The Times reported.

    The C3RN webinar will discuss how to improve racial equity in the cannabis industry.

    "Do you want to learn strategies and tools for advocating and working at the local level in cities in towns in Massachusetts int the cannabis industry? Do you want to support local cities and towns to have an equitable and diverse industry?" said the event's Facebook listing.

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