[Canniseur: I never thought about price and getting people out of the illicit market. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. But price is always a determining factor. Does COVID-19 have anything to do with it? I don’t know. Just like wine, most people want the box-of-wine for $10. There will always a small minority who want the best quality at whatever price. But it seems if we’re going to move to a mostly legal market, we need to watch price and make it cheaper than what illicit dealers want to sell their product for.]
Editors Note: This story was written by Jackie Bryant.
Like everything else touched by COVID-19, unexpected trends and shifts have occurred in the cannabis industry. One such shift is towards consumers seeking value products, which are rising in popularity due to a reduction in work and income across many different industries as the COVID-19 crisis wears on. In particular, low price/high THC combinations seem to be the magic bullet for anyone shopping for cannabis on a budget.
Canndescent, a brand that initially entered the market with a luxury-focus, recently launched the company’s third brand, Baker’s Cannabis Co. The brand offers lower-cost but still decent quality products, like $6 one-gram pre-rolled joints and $55 half-gram pre-ground pouches, which come equipped with rolling papers and crutches.
The style echoes one of the original legal value cannabis brands, Old Pal, which began selling its pre-ground cannabis flower in similar packaging and has gained popularity for its surprisingly high-quality product despite being priced comparatively lower than others in the space.
“Quality weed at fair prices has always been in high demand,” says Rusty Wilenkin, CEO of Old Pal, noting that this isn’t exactly a specific-to-COVID trend. “Value at Old Pal means more than just perceived value of low cost, to us value is the best quality at fair prices. During COVID, we’ve seen steady demand from consumers for our products. The industry overall has felt disruption with changing and varying regulations for retail shopping state to state. And while this is not unique to the cannabis industry, with the industry being as young as it is, these changes have been even more demanding.”
“Consumers aren’t visiting dispensaries as often as before,” explains Canndescent’s CMO Sam Arellano regarding a specific buying trend that can be directly attributed to COVID. “When they do, they’re opting for cannabis in larger weight/sizes with strong value equations to carry them between visits. We’re experiencing this increase in demand with Baker’s Cannabis Co. Despite COVID-19, demand has been consistently strong and steadily growing as consumers come to trust Baker’s quality, price, and availability.”
Arellano continues, speaking to a very specific type of customer–people who genuinely use cannabis as part of their daily routine. So much of the cannabis industry revolves around the highest potency possible, which is expensive to cultivate and produce. Add in state and local taxes on top of dispensary mark-up, and suddenly, someone who was used to paying legacy market prices faces an incredible new sticker shock for something that is part of their everyday life.
“Beyond price, they care about efficacy, availability, and trust,” Arellano says of frequent users. “Trust that the cannabis they choose is free from pesticides and other harmful containments, grown responsibly by a cultivator they respect. Availability as in, always there when they want it. And efficacy as in quality product and consistent experience.”
Patrick Martin from Harborside (OTC: HSDEF) in Oakland also sees the low price/high THC correlation, but suggests there are other value trends afoot, too, and that rather than hunting for potency regardless of any other factors, buyers are instead settling on personal ratios of price to THC relative other factors.
“For some, low price and high THC correlates to value,” he says, “but we still have a varied customer base that is looking for high quality, small-batch items, flavor, consistency, and a wide selection of strains/options. We think this is why people tend to shop for the sales items for the best deal versus only shopping for items that are consistently priced lower.”
Overall, Martin says, Harborside has seen an increase in customers shopping for their sales products as well as increased basket sizes.
In any industry, the value market has always been, well, invaluable to the success of most brands that don’t market themselves to be exclusively luxurious. In an age where inequality is rising and in an industry where inequality is always on the forefront of political issues, like cannabis is, it makes even more sense that value-marketing would become an increased priority for cannabis brands looking to corner the market.
Now that cannabis has been deemed essential in many states, sweeping federal legalization is again being discussed and it appears that economic upheaval is here to stay, at least for a while, the market for value cannabis brands has never been brighter.
Canniseur: I’m not a fan of vape cartridges because I don’t know what they actually contain. I am a HUGE fan of vaped flower though. For a while, vaping flower meant having something huge on your table. No more. There are lots of new bands in the market that make whole flower vaping a pocket-sized affair. This isn’t exactly pocketable, but it is a more compact form of vaping than a Volcano.]
Vaporizing has never been more popular than it is today. Between technological advancements in the field and a pandemic that’s made everyone think a little more about their lungs, the market for devices that vaporize flower, concentrate, or both, is booming
While there are a ton of e-rigs, vape pens, portable vapes, and table top set-ups that vaporize concentrate or flower, essentially the same technology and form is used over and over again. Most of the time, you’re better lighting up a bong.
The FlowerPot Vaporizer from New Vape is exciting because it delivers that top notch bong hit experience without combustion, giving the sensation of smoking without compromising your lungs.
In an industry awash with products that use flashy marketing to cover shoddy manufacturing, quality is as rare as innovation. Not only is the FlowerPot the most well-manufactured vaporizer I’ve ever used, it offers a totally unique and clean approach to consuming cannabis.
What is the FlowerPot Vaporizer?
The FlowerPot is a vaporizing system by New Vape that’s sold in a variety of bundles, all designed to be fully customizable, compatible with glass, and to deliver a vaporized bong hit heavy enough to rival a real one.
New Vape is a Florida brand known for the innovative and high-quality vaporizer systems they manufacture at their factory in-house. Having evolved from a medical machine shop in 2005, they applied their knowledge of creating stuff like titanium bone screws towards the cannabis hardware industry.
While the conceptual goal of the FlowerPot is to deliver a perfect bong hit without combustion, our set-up kicks it up a notch. For this guide, we’ll be referring to the Vrod Head, the most popular model, where you can take a vaporized flower bong rip and a concentrate dab at the same time.
How do you use the FlowerPot Vaporizer?
The FlowerPot is a highly mechanized device with many customizable set-ups and added accessories. How you want to design the device around the basic heating mechanism is up to you. Here is how to assemble the basic heating element and electronic system of the FlowerPot.
Assembling the FlowerPot Vaporizer
While assembling the FlowerPot may seem difficult due to its many small parts and long list of instructions, it’s actually pretty easy. To make this process as simple as possible, we’ve broken it into three parts: head assembly, bowl assembly, PID controller.
VROD FlowerPot Parts
Fasten the dish onto Head and secure with the dish nut.
Screw the diffuser onto the Head while holding it against the coil.
Insert screen into bowl until it snaps into place.
Insert post into glass rig, then place the bowl on the post.
Screw shovelhead body handle to tighten onto bowl.
The Flowerpot offers two options for PID controllers and coils:
NV PID Controller
Auber RDK300A PID Controller
20mm Coil for NV PID
20mm Coil for Auber PID
Plug then screw the coil cord into the PID controller.
Plug one end of the generic power cord into the PID controller, and the other end into the wall.
Using the PID Controller:
Make sure the FlowerPot is safely mounted on the safety stand.
Hit the red switch on the back of the PID.
The display will read the current temperature of the cord, an ambient 80 degrees F.
Use the up or down arrows to set your desired temperature. A good starting temperature is 650 degrees F.
When ready, push the front power button. This will power the coil and begin to heat.
Using the FlowerPot Vaporizer
When using the FlowerPot, there are a few tricks to keep in mind for getting the fattest clouds, and the best non-combustion bong rip the vape world has to offer.
Grind the weed, a lot. The finer the grind the better the hit.
Allow 3-5 minutes for the FlowerPot to get to temperature, and five minutes at first to let the heat soak the device fully. (Device can be left on all day as long as it’s safely docked on the stand.)
Go slow. The faster the air goes through the ground flower, the less hot it will be when it hits it, so it’s best to try for a slow to medium draw, vaporizing to the edge of combustion without coughing.
Think of the FlowerPot as a big lighter: only add heat to the bowl when you’re drawing in. Be sure to always place it back on its safety stand between draws.
What’s the appeal?
The FlowerPot Vaporizing System is very much an at-home set-up, perfect for someone who’s a hobby cannabis enthusiast. The kind of stoner with deep pockets, lots of time, and a fiery passion for pot.
Taking a dab and a bong hit of vaporized weed is obviously very next level, but it comes at a price. The most basic FlowePot Bundle will set you back $370, and the Premium package comes in at a whopping $805. While I love my FlowerPot and use it almost daily, it’s still a little steep.
That said, the FlowerPot is not meant for the casual user, but it fills the definite void when creating a walkable bridge from smoking flower to vaporizing. I’ve entertained the idea of laying off smokables for a while, but hadn’t seen it as feasible in that most vaporizers suck. This is the only vaping platform that has ever gotten me as high as smoking has, making me feel like it might be possible to make the switch … someday.
[Canniseur: Sickle cell anemia, which is really a disease, affects mainly African-Americans. It can be a horribly painful condition and there is no real cure other than a stem cell transplant. This study at least shows promise to ameloriate the pain that comes with this disease.]
The condition can result in chronic pain for patients, who are typically prescribed opioids.
Exact projections remain unknown, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that between 70,000 and 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. The disease causes a deficit in red blood cells and blocks blood flow throughout the body. This can result in chronic pain, with patients typically prescribed opioids, despite potential side effects like addiction, constipation and respiratory depression.
But a new study published in JAMA Network Open finds that cannabis could provide an alternative or adjunctive treatment to sickle cell patients. The research, co-led by University of California Irvine researcher Kalpna Gupta and U.C. San Francisco’s Dr. Donald Abrams, represents the first double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial to explore using cannabis as potential pain relief for sickle cell.
[Canniseur: This makes me see red. Donate to his cause, if you’re able. He needs to be released from prison yesterday. Of course, he was searched and arrested because he was black. No question about his being railroaded into a felony charge. This is a grave injustice and needs our support.]
In August 2016, police officers at a gas station near Pickens County, Alabama, informed Sean Worsley that his music was too loud. Worsley, who was just trying fill up his tank, turned the volume down. The disabled, decorated Iraq War veteran and his wife, Eboni Worsley, were on a trip to help Sean’s grandmother after she was displaced by a hurricane. The police request seemed like no big deal. But, the interaction took a turn for the worse.
The cops asked to search the vehicle, and Sean Worsley acquiesced. Reasonably, he thought he had nothing to hide. But, the officers discovered marijuana in the backseat andarrested Worsley on the spot.
It didn’t matter that the cannabis was legally prescribed by an Arizona physician and was inside a clearly marked prescription bottle. The cops didn’t care that Worsley had a valid medical marijuana card, either. They booked him anyway.
Is it worth noting that Worsley is Black? Of course it is.
Four years later, Sean Worsley is now 33-years-old and remains behind bars. The incident at the gas station got him sentenced to five years in the Alabama prison system. Worsley now isn’t just deprived of freedom and justice, but he’s also without the physician-prescribed marijuana that successfully treated his combat-inflicted traumatic brain injury and PTSD-triggered nightmares.
Eboni Worsley has set up aGoFundMe to assist getting her husband out of jail and to help raise money for other legal feels. She is fighting for her cognitively-impaired husband with the support of theAlabama Appleseed Justice and Law Center.
On the GoFundMe page, Eboni acknowledges that it was an error to bring medical marijuana to a state where it remains illegal. “That mistake has cost us upwards of $80,000, loss of a child, our home, vehicle, education, and ultimately my husband’s freedom,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We fully understand we broke a law but could never be prepared for how that law has broken our lives.”
Leah Nelson, Research Director at Alabama Appleseed, spoke to MERRY JANE about Sean’s present status and what we can do to help.
“What I would encourage people outside of the state of Alabama to do is engage with federal lawmakers,” Nelson said, “to push them to reconsider our cannabis policies in this country. Right now, as long as marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance with no approved medical use, the VA is not going to be able to prescribe it, and states like Alabama will continue to be able to criminalize it. At some point, the federal government is going to need to do the right thing, so that veterans like Sean can legally use this medication.”
Nelson also pointed out how emblematic the Sean Worsley case is overall. “It illustrates so many racial and justice issues in this country and so many of the ways that we are still doing things wrong. It shows who goes to war as an enlisted soldier in the Army. It shows who gets injured in war and what happens when they’re injured.
Citing Worsley’s military record, Nelson points out that Worsley went to Iraq and his job was to make bombs explode. In other words, his job was to kill people. “Sean’s job was to pick up body parts,” Nelson told MERRY JANE. “He has a traumatic brain injury from being blown up, and he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from picking up the body parts of other people who were blown up.”
Worsley came back to the US after doing that for more than a year, but still remained in the Army. He eventually was honorably discharged, Nelson explains. But, now, he’s denied the ability to use the medication that helps him, and he has incurred multiple felonies for using that medication the correct way.
The laws need to change immediately. “Sean’s story shows why we need to reclassify marijuana so that it is no longer a crime to possess it, and to make sure it is legal to be used as a medicine. How unconscionable is it that we’re not even allowed to legally conduct research on cannabis at a federal level?”
On top of the injustice, Worsley is slated to do time in particularly inhumane circumstances. “Due to Alabama’s harsh criminal policies and refusal to update them,” Nelson said, “Sean Worsley is about to be put into a prison system that has been found by the Department of Criminal Justice to be out of compliance with the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.”
While cannabis is legal at the state level in 11 regions, we must remember that prohibition and the War on Drugs were always designed to target people — and Worsley is experiencing the worst of it, especially considering we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Please take a moment to donate to Worsley’s GoFundMe. May justice be served.