If the polls are correct, more adults will soon be getting high in The Aviation State of Ohio. 

And so blows this bellwether state, which would be the 24th to legalize adult-use cannabis, so goes the nation. 

Recreational expansion in Ohio represents a reefer rubicon which, once Pennsylvania flips, opens up a gateway between legal states in the Midwest and Northeast (we’ll deal with Indiana on another day). 

A Marijuana Manifest Destiny.

Alliteration aside, what’s most refreshing about Ohio’s campaign is its incorporation of a benignly persuasive political attack ad that calls out the opposition with a closing tagline of “we sure hope Ohio lets us keep Ohio’s tax money.”

Pot is a pocketbook issue, which means it’s no longer politically palatable to allow the five recreational dispensaries located in a 2,000-person Michigan border town to collect tax revenue that otherwise would be allocated to Ohioans. 

The corporate cannabis lobby, in this case led by Cresco Labs and Curaleaf, is looking for a major state win as its constituents and the industry at large await movement on three national fronts through three federal branches of government. 

At the executive level, significant hope remains that the Biden Administration will reschedule cannabis to a Schedule 3 substance after an August 29 letter of recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Drug Enforcement Agency. This action presumably would allow for greater scientific research of the plant and relieve current 280e tax burdens.

On the legislative front, there remains hope that new House Speaker Mike Johnson may still allow for a vote on the now Senate-endorsed SAFE Banking Act despite his personal misgivings toward the plant. 

In the courts, there is hope that $2110 per hour attorney David Boies’ case in Massachusetts can eventually overturn federal drug laws that it deems unconstitutional. 

The seventh largest state in the nation, Ohio through adult-use legalization is projected to become a $4 billion market with sales going to multistate operators and a significant number of social equity startup businesses alike. 

Of course, nothing is official until the polls are closed and votes are counted. Even if the forces on the other side pull off an upset, public opinion continues to support adult-use cannabis markets. From an economic, social and cultural perspective, it seems that once cannabis is introduced to a market, even the initial naysayers ultimately decide to go for the green.

Newsflash: Inhaling smoke may be harmful to your heart 

A new report from the American Heart Association analyzing the correlation between cannabis consumption and cardiac risks among the 50 and over crowd is making the media rounds this week.  

Throughout the report, it is explained how cannabis “usage” may increase the risk of heart failure, stroke or a heart attack. It was not until the end of the report, that readers were provided with the following disclaimer. 

A limitation of the study is that it relied on data that did not specify whether the marijuana was inhaled or eaten. According to researchers, how marijuana is ingested may influence cardiovascular outcomes.

So, in an unknowable number of instances among the 3,000 individuals studied, cannabis smoke was inhaled. There is no analysis at all on the impact – positive, negative or otherwise – edible consumption of cannabis has on our hearts and bodies. In fact, one of the details of the study notes that instances medically prescribed cannabis consumption were not included in the data. 

As cannabis consumption becomes more frequent, particularly among older demographics, it is essential to understand how the plant in all of its forms impacts our health and wellness. However, by not teasing out the obviously less harmful method of eating cannabis, the reader or headline writing news editor is left to believe that cannabis consumption in all of its forms is bad for you. 

“Daily Cannabis Use Linked to Higher Risk of Severe Heart Disease”, writes Bloomberg while CNN emphasizes that “Marijuana use raises risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.”  

For a U.S. consumer-base already devoid of peer-reviewed intelligence on the impact of cannabis in its many forms on our bodies, we need more and not less studies like this leading up to what we hope will eventually be FDA regulation. However, it is incumbent upon research bodies and the media who report on them to understand granularity and the intrinsic health impacts of smoking something versus eating something. 

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

Marketing and Education to be a focus of the 1871 Cannabis Innovation Lab Kickoff 

Several dozen stakeholders committed to advancing the cause of commercial cannabis will convene in-person in Chicago and virtually for the Cannabis Innovation Lab Community Kick Off on November 16 from 2pm to 6pm CST.

The event will begin with a panel conversation focused on funding and public-private partnerships in the cannabis sector featuring Michael Sachaj of Hyde Park Angels, Lisa Evia of SeedFund Capital and Ameya Pawar of the Economic Security Project and OKAY Cannabis. Thereafter, participants will have the option to join a one of five different small group conversations focused on Technology & Innovation, Marketing & Education, Corporate Participation in the cannabis sector, Regulation and Consumer Normalization, and Delta-8.

Register now and join our movement. 

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.