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Journalist Jen Bernstein’s Inside Look at Legalization, Media, & Women in Cannabis | Infused Apple Cake Recipe | The Latest from Azuca
Cannabis has evolved into a beat of its own in the world of journalism, providing the industry with publications dedicated to product innovations, business strategies, and growth. Jen Bernstein is a pioneer in the cannabis media space, having served as former managing editor and now a contributing writer at High Times, one of the first industry magazines. In a career spanning two decades, and combining her love for the plant with her love of writing, Bernstein has played a critical role in bringing cannabis into the mainstream. Read her take on cannabis media, women in the industry, and other recent developments, plus the latest Azuca headlines, an update on legalization progress across the nation and an infused recipe that will help you celebrate the start of fall.
7 Questions with Jen Bernstein, Contributing Writer and former Managing Editor at High Times, President of Women’s Cannabis Club
Q: How did you become a cannabis expert and how have you been able to translate that expertise into a writing career?
A: To become a cannabis expert, you have to practice a lot, just like anything. I’ve judged more than 25 Cannabis Cups in the US, plus some internationally, all of which led to my love and appreciation of this glorious plant. Combine that with a masters in writing from NYU and I landed my dream job at High Times Magazine. I love writing about cannabis and the culture because there is always a new surprise about the plant. There is so much to learn, study and research, it never gets boring. As a journalist, when you land upon a beat like cannabis, it becomes both a passion and a livelihood.
Q: Why is it important for the cannabis industry to have its own devoted outlets to share ideas and track progress and growth?
A: It’s crucial to have outlets in both print and digital media that are dedicated specifically to cannabis. It has already legitimized the industry and allowed those of us who are a part of it to be taken more seriously than in the past. We as journalists need to get the correct messages out there, and these outlets allow us to do that. We are making so much progress, but there is still a lot of stigma surrounding the mystery of this plant. The more we can demystify it, the more people can learn and discover what it’s really about. It’s also especially important to have thought leadership when it comes to medicinal use. Because cannabis has health benefits, there is a need to share medical cannabis research and provide accurate information to those who need it most.
Q: What are some of the most important conversations going on in cannabis media right now?
A: The most important conversation right now is the road to federal legalization. What does it look like, and what do we focus on first? Should it be rescheduling, finances, or is it just legitimizing businesses and allowing them to thrive?
One of the other most important topics is social equity. It’s extremely important that minorities are given the proper support and help to enter the industry. We must also address those that have been incarcerated because of cannabis. There are really great organizations like the Last Prisoner Project, working hard and fighting to get every last ‘pot prisoner’ out of jail.
I also want to mention something that no one is talking about, which is the regulation of CBD and THC. We simply aren’t holding our industry to the highest standard possible. We need every company to be testing their products. There are no real consumer agencies that are testing and reporting. Testing across the board for all products, not just cannabis products, is crucial to success. There needs to be a standard and an authority to answer to.
Q: You are President of the Women in Cannabis Club. Why is female representation in the industry so important?
A: It’s so rare that you see a truly new industry starting up. The tech boom was the last big new industry to come about. It’s important as any new industry evolves that women are able to be leaders and pave the way as that industry defines itself. Women have the same amount–if not more–acumen to perform and carry out leadership tasks as men. Since I started working in cannabis, I have never felt a lot of gender bias. At High Times, I always felt like I was on a level playing field with my male colleagues. Diversity in the workplace is crucial and so is respect for your colleagues, regardless of gender. Not to mention, it’s a female plant and we can connect with it! So it’s only natural that women should be leading the way in this industry, and it’s about time.
Q: Recently, the question has been raised in the media: what makes a cannabis mom different from a wine mom? What are your thoughts on cannabis and parenting?
A: I prefer cannabis over alcohol. As a cannabis mom I feel that I am making a healthier choice for myself. I personally have few health associated worries when it comes to cannabis, while I have never felt great when drinking. I regularly end up with hangovers, which is something I don’t experience with cannabis. Having said that, the weed mom and the wine mom share many similarities. We’re both making choices when it comes to how we relax. For me personally, I know that I’m making the better choice for myself, and I think that’s what matters in the end.
Q: Many of your articles center around careers in the cannabis industry, will Americans unsatisfied with their jobs move on to something new? Why choose a career in cannabis?
A: There are a ton of opportunities in the cannabis industry and ample room for growth. This industry has something for everyone. If you’re looking to make the switch, it’s important to know that you don’t need to go back to school to get a job. It’s actually easiest to get a job in the industry if you take your current skill set and showcase how you can apply it to this rapidly growing industry. The cannabis industry has a lot of similarities to any other industry, and so it’s no surprise that it has similar needs that aren’t even necessarily directly related to the plant. There is a need for marketing, financing, and advertising. So that means there is room for anyone who’s looking to explore a career in cannabis. If you’re looking to join the field, I’d say search around for local clubs and organizations, get involved to gain some experience, and then start interviewing and see where it takes you. There are also so many courses and certifications you can get to bolster those credentials as well.
Q: You live in NYC, what’s the future of cannabis in NY? What do you hope to see over the months and years to come?
A: As legal cannabis comes to New York, I’m really looking forward to the tax dollars we are going to bring to New York State. We will create job opportunities, and we can even contribute to things like boosting teacher salaries with those tax dollars. I’m also looking forward to the diversity in products we’re going to see. New York City will be the largest legal market in the world and I can’t wait to see the explosion of creativity in edibles to flower. New York City has attracted the best of the best in everything, and I’d expect nothing different from our cannabis entrepreneurs.
Jen Bernstein is a print and digital media professional with 20+ years experience. Since graduating with a masters degree in publishing from New York University, she has covered cannabis, entertainment, music, travel, women’s consumer, and men’s luxury as a writer for publications such as High Times, a publication for which she also served as managing editor. In the cannabis world, she is recognized as a thought leader and consultant.
Azuca Partnership Spotlight
“At High Life Farms, we’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and to meet the needs and desires of every type of consumer. Lift Off checks both of those boxes with Azuca’s innovative fast-acting technology…” Michigan residents can enjoy Lift Off, a new fast acting Delta-9-THC effect dissolvable powder powered by Azuca’s TiME INFUSION™. Read more in Benzinga’s roundup of new cannabis products currently on the market, available here.
More places and more products from Wana Brands! This fall, Massachusetts residents will be able to purchase select Wana Quick gummies in local dispensaries. Wana Quick gummies – powered by Azuca – feature individually encapsulated Delta-9-THC cannabinoids with greater bioavailability, bypassing the liver and entering the bloodstream immediately.
Wana is also utilizing Azuca’s TiME INFUSION™ technology in their newest product, Wana Optimals Fast Asleep Gummies. These fast-acting gummies contain a custom blend of CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and melatonin to help you feel ready for bed in 5 to 15 minutes. Available in Colorado, Fast Asleep is the first product from Wana Brands’ new line of daily wellness products, Wana Optimals.
Azuca Names New VP
Congratulations to Corinne Butler, who was recently promoted to Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Butler first joined the Azuca team in early January of 2019 as Director of Sales, and has since been a critical player in solidifying Azuca’s role as the leading edibles partner in the cannabis industry. Read more here.
Stay Tuned Chocolate Makers!
The Azuca Innovation team has some major news coming this October on the manufacturing solution for fast-acting chocolate infusion.
Stay tuned or book a call today for a preview!
Fall in Love with this Infused Apple Cake Recipe
Fall is all about sharing your favorite recipes with friends and family. As the leaves begin to change and apple picking season begins, get yourself in the spirit with this delicious, infused Apple Cake recipe. Combine your favorite fall flavors with a tablespoon of Azuca’s CBD simple syrup, and your favorite sweater for that cozy fall feel. Bonus: All Azuca CBD recipes can be easily made with THC by partnering with us and utilizing AZUCA TiME INFUSION™ in your edibles kitchen!
Makes 12 slices, 25 mg Azuca CBD each
- 6 apples, can be any variety as long as they are crisp and tart, peeled and cored
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1½ cups + 5 Tbsp white sugar
- 7½ tsp Azuca CBD Sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a Bundt or tube pan.
- Chop apples into 1” chunks and toss with cinnamon and 5 Tbsp white sugar
- Sift together baking powder, salt, flour into a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice, white sugar, Azuca CBD sugar, vanilla, eggs and vegetable oil.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until fully incorporated.
- Pour half the batter into your greased pan, then half the apples, then the rest of the batter and the rest of the apples.
- Bake for 1½ hours or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Cool completely before turning the cake out onto a platter.
- Slice into 12 even pieces and serve at room temperature.
Legalization: Many Strides, Some Setbacks
Federal Update: Across the US, insurers are gearing up for the potential impacts of legalizing adult use cannabis nationwide. Insurance for growers, testing labs, and retailers is currently held in check by strict federal laws, but this could possibly change if Congress is able to reach a deal on legalization. Those in states where cannabis is legal can currently offer coverage at the state level, but legalization would drastically expand that availability. (Source: Reuters)
New Mexico: New Mexico’s new rules laying out specific regulations for the production of cannabis for adult use went into effect on August 24. These guidelines include plant count, which is capped at 10,000 plants per licensed grower, though between six and eight thousand will be the norm. The state also introduced requirements to prevent a shortage of medical cannabis. (Source: High Times)
New York: Those concerned by New York State’s sluggish cannabis rollout felt a bit of relief on September 1 when Governor Kathy Hochul appointed two people to fill the top spots on the State’s Office of Cannabis Management. Christopher Alexander was appointed Director while Tremaine Wright will lead the Cannabis Control Board. The long awaited appointments have many hoping that the rollout will now be able to move forward, but it’s still not clear when that will happen as several open positions on both panels still need to be filled. (Source: WFBO/NPR)
New Jersey: Nearly three quarters of municipalities in New Jersey have opted out of adult use cannabis sales. According to the USA Today Network, roughly 71% of New Jersey towns (approximately 400) have approved local ordinances that ban adult-use marijuana businesses. Only 98 of those 400 municipalities have passed laws that will allow for adult-use cannabis retailers, growers, manufacturers, most of them in the southern part of the state. 41 towns have banned retail, but plan to allow growth and distribution. (Source: Marijuana Moment)
North Carolina: In late August, a North Carolina Senate Committee approved a revised bill to legalize medicinal cannabis in the state. The bill must still clear the Senate Health Care and Rules and Operations Committees in order to reach the floor before potentially heading to the House of Representatives and then to the governor’s desk. While many advocates have applauded the move, others have criticized the fact that growers will need at least five years of experience, effectively excluding in-state businesses from participating. (Source: Marijuana Moment)