Da Capo To Serve Cannabis Cocktails

Da Capo, located at 322 Columbus Avenue (between 75th and 76th Streets), operates as an espresso bar by day, serving Italian espresso, specialty drinks, pastries and paninis. At 5PM, Da Capo transforms into a specialty cocktail bar with tons of cool drinks on their menu. 

And now included in that list of cool drinks are CBD (Cannabidiol) cocktails, Patch.com first announced.

Da Capo has partnered with weed edibles company Azuca to offer cannabis-infused sweeteners which customers can add to their drinks (or you can get a special CBD cocktail).

The company states that CBD can help relieve pain and anxiety, and Da Capo is the second NYC establishment to partner with them.

So, will these drinks get you stoned? 

Well, here’s the product description on Azuca’s website …

Made to mix effortlessly into drinks and recipes, our hand-crafted syrups never contain more than 7 ingredients. Compared to the average flavored syrup on the market, you’ll find Azuca Syrups to be quite a bit more wholesome and incredibly delicious.  And because Azuca Syrups are faster-acting, you can serve them socially and they’ll take effect in a few minutes, instead of hours later.  

So you’ll feel something, most likely. But I don’t think we’re talking Half Baked, Big Lebowski stoned.

Since Da Capo opened their west side location they’ve become really popular. So these new products will either increase their customer loyalty and / or expand their customer base.

For those seeking more unique and adventurous ingredients, they also have an absinthe cocktail (their Sazerac, made with absinthe, rye, demerrara and bitters).

Their cocktail menu has gotten a ton of positive reviews for its depth and inventiveness.

Da Capo has also collected lots of praise for their coffee, service and food. And they frequently host events including wine, booze and coffee tastings, food workshops and live music.

People have really grown to like this place since they opened (which was October of 2017). Their original location is on the UES, at 1392 Madison Ave.


10 Eateries Serving CBD Food and Drinks in 2018

As CBD proves to be a versatile ingredient in everything from beauty products to coffee grounds, this cannabis extract shows no signs of slowing down. CBD has now started to pop-up on dinner and drink menus at some restaurants, as interest in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties continues to increase. Coffee shops, diners, and even hotels are picking up on the CBD trend and creating cannabis-infused foods for their customers.

We looked at restaurants from across the country to find the most innovative uses of CBD in different dishes, drinks, and desserts. It was no easy feat to curate this list, but the ten eateries listed here impressed us with their CBD-infused food and drink options, and are worth adding to your culinary bucket list.

The James New York—NoMad Hotel

It may not fall into the restaurant or coffee shop category, but The James NoMad Hotel is a popular destination where guests have the opportunity to order room service from a CBD menu. On this menu, guests can choose CBD-infused dishes that range from spicy meatballs and butter salad, to ice cream sundaes and gummies—even CBD dog treats can be delivered to your room. It’s rare to find a full menu dedicated to CBD-infused food and treats, which is definitely an added bonus for visitors staying at this hotel.

Where: New York, NY

Bubby’s

Best known for its traditional American eats and an “off the commercial food grid” philosophy, Bubby’s is embracing this mindset by introducing CBD-infused drinks to their customers. On Bubby’s menu, there is a section dedicated to beverages that incorporate CBD into coffee, tea, and lemonade. Bubby’s makes note to only serve these drinks to customers who are 21 or older, and they use CBD-infused Azuca sugars and syrups that are absent of any other cannabinoids.

Where: New York, NY

The Butcher’s Daughter

With restaurant locations in New York and California, The Butcher’s Daughter is a growing juice bar and cafe that gives their patrons the option to add CBD to their smoothies, coffee, or lattes. The additional charge to add CBD is only $3 in New York, and $4 at the California location. The Butcher’s Daughter sources their CBD from the brand Plant People, and it may also be possible to add CBD to their food dishes or pastries upon request.

Where: Brooklyn, NY
New York, NY
Venice, CA

by CHLOE

A vegan-based eatery with locations in the U.S. and Europe, by CHLOE has an extensive menu that features a section dedicated to CBD-infused treats. Titled “FEELZ,” this portion of by CHLOE’s menu incorporates CBD into cookies, rice crispy treats, cupcakes, and brownies, which are baked fresh, in-house each day. The restaurant chain has locations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Providence, but these CBD desserts are only available in their New York stores.

Where: New York, NY

Chillhouse

Also featured as one of the best spas offering CBD treatments in 2018, the Chillhouse doubles as an eatery and earns its place among the most buzzworthy. A trendy location for many, this cafe offers lattes and beverages enhanced with CBD tinctures, on top of their nail care services and CBD-infused massage treatments. Designed as a destination for self care, Chillhouse excels in creating a relaxing environment with multiple ways to experience CBD.

Where: New York, NY

Monarch & the Milkweed

A self-serving restaurant based out of Vermont, Monarch & the Milkweed specializes in serving cocktails, pastries, and cannabis confections. Some of their treats, like bon bons, strawberry blondes, or white chocolate truffles include CBD, and they also offer some THC options since marijuana is legal in the state of Vermont. Monarch & the Milkweed also impresses with their labelling, which lets customers know how many milligrams of CBD (and possibly THC) are present in the cannabis confections they are buying.

Where: Burlington, VT

Caffeine Underground

A modern coffee shop with creativity in mind, Caffeine Underground is a cool place to get a cup of CBD-infused coffee. Customers can also enjoy CBD caramels, or opt to add CBD jam to their bagel or toast for an extra $2. In addition to their CBD-infused food and drinks, Caffeine Underground hosts fun events each week, from live music to film showings and open mic nights, this coffee shop has it all.

Where: Brooklyn, NY

Moon Juice

Based in plant-sourced ingredients and natural remedies, Moon Juice aims to represent a holistic lifestyle that extends beyond basic juices and milks. This shop only serves organic foods and drinks, with patrons having the option to add CBD into their choice of milk, latte, juice, tea, or other beverages. Listed under the “mood booster” portion of Moon Juice’s menu, it only costs $3.50 to upgrade any drink with CBD mint chocolate or olive oil hemp extract.

Where: Los Angeles, CA
Venice, CA

Original Hemp Cafe

Situated at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, the Original Hemp Cafe aims to incorporate hemp into all of their products, including teas, coffees, pastries, and more. This cafe and lounge uses full-spectrum CBD oil sourced from reputable Colorado hemp growers, and no THC is used in their brewing or infusion processes.​ They also have seed to table policies in place to ensure that their customers are getting the best experience possible, while still offering a wide variety of CBD food and beverage options.

Where: Colorado Springs, CO

Koku

Focused on creating delicious and healthy plant-based food options for its customers, Koku offers soft-serve with superfood ingredients and various toppings—including CBD cacao. This cannabis-infused cacao is used in Koku’s Zen bowl with fresh blueberries, coconut chips, and black sesame granola on raw cacao flavored soft serve. CBD is incorporated into this dish for its antioxidant benefits, with the intention to support the body and its many systems.

Where: New York, NY

 


CBD’s Popularity Boom: Four Edible Directions

As CBD bursts into consumer consciousness – thanks in part to the commercialisation of cannabis – savvy restaurants are welcoming this wellness-enhancing compound, incorporating it into everything from mocktails to tasting menus.

As highlighted in A Budding Opportunity, CBD (the non-psychoactive compound of cannabis) is believed to alleviate anxiety, pain and other ailments– although scientists still know relatively little about its effects. CBD’s legality varies, and many US states haven’t addressed specifics. Surprisingly, California allows recreational cannabis, but banned CBD from restaurant menus in July 2018.

  • High Dining: Cannabis-infused fine dining, as explored in our American Food Influencer Round-Up, is being reinterpreted for mainstream menus with CBD. New York restaurant Lalito partners with cannabis lifestyle magazine Gossamer to host dinners showcasing CBD’s distinct grassy, vegetal flavour. Upscale vegan restaurant Farmacy Kitchen in London offers afternoon tea with hemp tea, alongside CBD-infused cocktails and chocolates.
  • Add-On Benefits: NYC fast-casual restaurant Inday provides CBD-infused ghee for its Indian-inspired meals, nodding to cannabis’s wellness appeal, as outlined in 10 Wellbeing Trends to Watch. Meanwhile, American vegan fast-casual brand By Chloe tempts Instagram foodies with CBD-boosted desserts laden with sprinkles and edible glitter (see Sweet Treats: Dessert & Chocolate Trends).
  • Comfort Inn: Several hotels are touting CBD’s relaxation benefits as an amenity for travellers. US chain The James Hotel offers a room-service menu with CBD-infused comfort foods such as meatballs and tater tots (for more on The James’s wellness initiatives, see The Brief). Meanwhile, hotel group The Standard stocks its US minibars with CBD gummies from Californian cannabis brand Lord Jones.
  • Soothing Sips: At New York restaurant Bubby’s, diners can order coffee, tea and lemonade with CBD-infused granulated sugar from the owner’s brand, Azuca. Also in New York, restaurant Adriaen Block offers CBD-tinged mocktails and low-ABV cocktails for a healthier night out.For more on infused drinks, see Fresh & Functional Formulations in Fluid Flavours and Coca-Cola Considers Cannabis.

The New Consumer Guide to Cannabis: Breaking Down the Basics

We get it. Cannabis can be confusing, and questions abound when you dive into the nitty gritty details.

But as the popularity and awareness of cannabis increases—specifically surrounding two of its most talked about components, called cannabinoids, CBD and THC—so do misconceptions about what cannabis is, what it does and what all of the hype is about (well worth it, if you ask us!).

Some of the most common questions we hear:

Do all cannabis products get you high? (short answer: no)
What is it used for? (the list keeps on growing)
How does it taste? (Azuca was founded by a chef—you can trust us on this one)
Why should I try it out? (how much time do you have?)

Like all good stories, we think it’s best to start at the beginning to help you nail down the basics. For the sake of brevity, we’ll hone in on THC and CBD only—though bear in mind, the cannabis plant contains more than one hundred unique cannabinoids.

Do all cannabis products get you high?

Nope. A cannabis-infused product’s ability to provide a high is dependent on whether the product contains THC or is CBD only. Not sure what THC and CBD are? Read on.

THC and CBD—what’s the difference?

CBD and THC, shorthand for cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, respectively, are cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. More simply, they are two of the most abundant active ingredients found in cannabis.

A common difference cited between the two is that THC can get you high and CBD doesn’t. But it’s a little more sophisticated than that. Both THC and CBD are psychoactive—by definition, any substance that has an effect on the mind is psychoactive—but only THC is intoxicating, meaning that it can provide you with a euphoric high while CBD cannot.

Why? It all has to do with cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors, which naturally occur within your body’s endocannabinoid system. Since THC is an ‘agonist’, it stimulates CB1 receptors in the brain. CBD on the other hand, is an ‘antagonist’ and inhibits activation of CB1 receptors. A 2001 study1 demonstrated that when an antagonist blocks the CB1 receptors, an individual cannot get high, therefore when the CB1 receptors are open to being stimulated by an agonist, an individual can get high.

What is cannabis used for?

A growing body of literature indicates that cannabis has a variety of health benefits that can aid in the treatment and recovery of a range of ailments. Since the research on its medicinal applications is still in a nascent stage, its complete capabilities are not fully known. That being said, studies 2,3  have shown that cannabinoids can be an effective and well-tolerated pain reliever, with evidence suggesting that they are also helpful in the treatment of cancer,4, 5 fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis,6 muscle spasticity,7 Tourette Syndrome,8 schizophrenia,9  Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease.2

Cannabis is also frequently used to treat the symptoms that accompany drug therapy for HIV infections,10 and synthetic cannabinoids have proven to be effective in relieving the side effects of cancer chemotherapy, like nausea and vomiting.11

CBD in particular is highly regarded for its calming effects, with individuals reporting that it relieves insomnia and anxiety, and can also help manage epilepsy.

What does it taste like?

Historically, cannabis has gotten a bad rep for tasting ‘grassy’ and smelling ‘skunky’. But that doesn’t have to be the reality—today’s edibles have advanced to the point where the “weed” flavor that many find undesirable is virtually undetectable. Our mantra? You can have your cannabis, and enjoy it too! Our products range from CBD simple syrup to THC-infused chocolate coins, shortbread cookies, Pâte de Fruits (Azuca’s Head of Kitchen Crew, Quino, dubbed this as his favorite product) and more.

We’re constantly coming up with new flavors—think Root Beer Pâte de Fruit and pomegranate simple syrup—and are expanding rapidly, so make sure to follow us on social (@azuca.co) to stay up-to-date! Warning: mouthwatering is a frequent side effect of looking at our Instagram page.

How much should I consume?

For novice consumers, it’s recommended to begin with a very small amount of cannabis—also known as a microdose—and gradually work your way up to the point when the desired effect is reached. For instance, with Azuca, this might mean using a half teaspoon of sugar or syrup in your drink. Fortunately, our products take effect within 30 minutes, so you won’t be waiting and wondering for hours as you would with many other edible products on the market.

The bottom line: every person is different, so starting low and going slow is the key to finding the correct dose for your unique biology and needs—in fact, many people prefer to microdose because it allows them to benefit from the plant’s vast medical potential on a daily basis, without experiencing any unwanted lethargy or euphoria.

Alright, all of that sounds great. How can I get in on the action?

Whether you’re looking to discover your Zen through CBD-only products or are desirous of finding balanced, THC-infused edibles and ingredients to incorporate into your lifestyle, Azuca promises to deliver fast-acting, precise and delicious edibles that you can count on.

Our CBD products can be bought online here, and our THC-infused edibles are available at Mayflower Medicinals in Massachusetts.

Sources

  1. Huestis MA., Gorelick DA., Heishman SJ., Preston KL., Nelson RA., Moolchan ET., Frank RA. Blockade of effects of smoked marijuana by the CB1-selective cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR141716. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001;58:322–328. [PubMed]
  2. Natalya M. Kogan, Raphael Mechoulam. Cannabinoids in health and disease. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2007;9:413–430. [PMC]
  3. Mary Barna Bridgeman, Daniel T. Abazia. Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting. P T. 2017;42:180–188. [PMC]
  4. Kogan NM. Cannabinoids and cancer. Mini Rev Med Chem.2005;5:941–952. [PubMed]
  5. Bifulco M., Laezza C., Gazzerro P., Pentimalli F. Endocannabinoids as emerging suppressors of angiogenesis and tumor invasion (review). Oncol Rep. 2007;17:813–816. [PubMed]
  6. Cabranes A., Pryce G., Baker D., Fernandez-Ruiz J. Changes in CB1 receptors in motor-related brain structures of chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis mice. Brain Res.2006;1107:199–205. [PubMed]
  7. Brenneisen R., Egli A., Elsohly MA., Henn V., Spiess Y. The effect of orally and rectally administered delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol on spasticity: a pilot study with 2 patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996;34:446–452. [PubMed]
  8. MulIer-Vahl KR. Cannabinoids reduce symptoms of Tourette's syndrome. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003;4:1717–1725.[PubMed]
  9. Zuardi AW., Crippa JA., Hallak JE., Moreira FA., Guimaraes FS. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006;39:421–429. [PubMed]
  10. Woolridge E., Barton S., Samuel J., Osorio J., Dougherty A., Holdcroft A. Cannabis use in HIV for pain and other medical symptoms. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2005;29:358–67. [PubMed]
  11. Berlach DM., Shir Y., Ware MA. Experience with the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone in chronic noncancer pain. Pain Med. 2006;7:25–29. [PubMed]

EVENT: The New York Coffee Festival 2018

October is the time to get excited about the annual New York Coffee Festival. After my experience last year, I couldn’t wait to get my caffeine buzz going again. Held every year at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, the New York Coffee Festival hosts everything New York has to offer in the field of coffee and related foods, activities, and organizations.

New York’s best coffee establishments were onsite giving out samples of their Coffee, Espresso, Cold Brew, and everything in between. Sey CoffeeJoe CoffeeStumptownCoffee of Grace (and many more) were among the specialty roasters to set up shop. Guest coffee roasters from other parts of the world were also in attendance serving their best, including Ebel Coffee and Daterra Coffee. To try everything is a challenge, but to then pick highlights among all of the expert roasters, that is even harder. But I’ll try: here’s my coffee highlight from this year’s festival:

Nobletree Cold Brew: Bold but smooth, this is an “all day” type of brew. 6am? 4pm? I’ll take a large, please. Thanks for powering me through this eventful festival!

If you’re looking to lighten your coffee, you’ve got options. Super Creamer can add a high-protein, lactose-free boost. Califia Farms was ready to add one of their many almond milk varieties. Oatly made me a “CortadOat” with Variety Coffee!

NYC based Azuca explained the health benefits of CBD, and their vision of CBD options in all of NYC’s coffee shops. Instead of asking for two pumps of simple syrup, ask for two pumps of a CBD syrup like Azuca!

Local bakeries such as Danny Macaroons and The Good Batch had the perfect coffee pairings. If you prefer your coffee pairings sans gluten, don’t worry! Sans Bakery has a wide variety of baked goods suitable to your diet. One food to be careful of: the Espresso spread by Flat Brew. It is a delicious alternative way to intake your daily caffeine, by spreading it on a bagel for example. Just be careful of pairing it with coffee, that’s a heavy dose!

I tried the coffee questionnaire at Trade Coffee which matched me up with a roast based on my normal coffee preferences and habits. They matched me with the Southern Weather Blend by Onyx Coffee Lab, and I received a pour-over coffee on the spot to confirm! Take the quiz at Trade’s website to see your ideal coffee: https://www.drinktrade.com/.

The festival always brings you a step further than just eating and drinking. Breville had a half dozen espresso machines open to the public and instructors to teach proper barista technique. A Sensory Experience was offered to isolate tastes, smells, and sounds, and identify their role in the coffee experience. Industry experts explained the supply side of the coffee bean procurement process. Finally the masters of coffee faced off and competed in a number of categories.

The Coffee Music Project and the Coffee Art Project both showcased and gave a platform to up and coming artists, as well as raised funds for Project Waterfall.

Profits from the festival go towards Project Waterfall, which, in partnership with NYC based charity: water, develops projects to get clean water to the communities of coffee-growing regions of the world.

If you missed it (or just miss it) New York Coffee Festival will return next year! October 11-13 2019 has been confirmed, and The Couch Sessions will keep you in the loop as the event approaches! Click here for more pictures from this year’s festival, or check out the official event hashtag: #NewYorkCoffeeFestivalfor everyone else’s experience!


Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

Big news on the international plane this week, with Mexico’s Supreme Court ruling an absolute ban on the adult use of cannabis is unconstitutional and the UK allowing doctors to legally prescribe cannabis products for a number of conditions like epilepsy, MS and chemotherapy-induced nausea.

"It’s important to understand that Mexico didn’t legalize cannabis,” Leafly editor Ben Adlin told Benzinga. “Mexico’s Supreme Court essentially struck down prohibition with these rulings, but the court can’t actually replace those criminal laws with new ones. So for now, laws barring cannabis are still on the books, they’re just unenforceable.

“The thing to watch at this point is how Mexico’s Congress responds. Lawmakers have 90 days to change the country’s drug laws to conform with the court’s rulings, and it’s not yet clear what action they’ll take. They could use this as an opportunity to legalize more broadly—allowing, say, regulated sales and commercial cultivation—or they could set up a more restrictive system like we currently have in Vermont or Washington, DC, where possession and homegrown are legal, but commercial activity is not.”

To get a financial perspective, we decided to reach out to Matthew Nordgren, CEO of ARCADIAN Fund.

“We have been exploring Mexico for over two years now through longstanding relationships and feel that the market has a tremendous amount of upside in the very near future,” he said. “They will announce license holders early next year and probably have six months of import/export business but have plans to cultivate and manufacture their own product locally shortly thereafter.”

In other news, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH 7.51%’s Epidiolex is now available to U.S. residents in all 50 states, Aphria Inc APHA 7.27% started trading on the NYSE, and Curaleaf debut on the CSE with a valuation around $4 billion.

“Little by little, the federal government - including key regulatory agencies - are recognizing the enormous benefits that the cannabis plant has to offer. The availability of Epidiolex to residents in all 50 states is a positive and monumental first step towards ensuring that our citizens are provided all of the medical options that are available to them and their loved ones,” Scott Mandell, President of Cannabistry Labs told us.

Debra Borchard, CEO of Green Market Report said “The market is continuing to see the maturity of the cannabis industry... Another positive sign for the industry was the removal ofIndia Globalization Capital, Inc. NYSEIGC from the NYSE. Companies that only claim to be cannabis companies like IGC hurt investors and the industry alike."

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., gained 26.8 percent in just one week, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, spiked up 12.7 percent.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF HMLSF 5.37% (TSE:HMMJ) slipped 0.2 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ 4.7% surged 0.2 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY 2.63% closed the week up 2.3 percent.

Stock Moves

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $100 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

• 22nd Century Group Inc XXII 8.94%: up 5.8 percent

• Aphria Inc APHA 7.27%: up almost 1 percent on its Friday NYSE debut

• Aurora Cannabis Inc ACB 4.22%: down 1.6 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc CNTTF 5.05%: down 8.6 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp CGC 3.85%: down 4.5 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. CRON 8.27%: up 2.2 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd TGODF 0.94%: up 1.4 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc GTBIF 8.98%: down 4.1 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH 7.51%: up 7.3 percent

• Hexo Corp HYYDF 5.79%: up 8.5 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc ITHUF 9.31%: up 6.2 percent

• Medical Marijuana Inc MJNA 7.56%: down 0.2 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF 2.28%: up 27 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co SMG 1.13%: up 5.2 percent

• THC Biomed Intl Ltd THCBF 12.09%: down 11.3 percent

• Tilray Inc TLRY 4.41%: down 9.1 percent

• Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc ZYNE 10.28%: down 3.4 percent

In Other News

CPA and financial advisory services firm MGO and cannabis financial advisory services firm ELLO announced an official alliance that entails an exclusive collaborative professional services offering across their rapidly growing cannabis practices in the U.S. and Canada.

“With the massive growth and major ‘milestones’ being achieved in the industry, it is important for cannabis companies to have access to a robust suite of professional services that addresses the specific needs, obstacles and opportunities that they face,” Evan Eneman, CEO of Ello and MGO/ELLO National Cannabis Practice Leader, told Benzinga. “This alliance sets us apart as a professional services firm in that we can deliver specifically tailored solutions and scaled services that allows our clients to be agile and dynamic which is frankly critical for success and growth in this rapidly moving complex environment."

Eneman was a co-founder and former managing partner at cannabis focused VC fund Casa Verde Capital.

Benzinga recently reported on Verano Holdings receiving financing of $120 million. Andy De Francesco is chairman and CIO of SOL Global Investments, a firm that put in most of the money in the latest round.

“We have reviewed and entertained more than 100 US opportunities in the past 4 to 6 months and a few are very good and we are investing,” he explained. “But I can say without hesitation the team George and Sam have assembled are the rock stars plain and simple. They understand every piece of vertical integration in this business. They execute faster and smarter BUT with massive conscience for the bottom line…If this was basketball, these guys would be the 1990’s Chicago Bulls.”

Helix TCS Inc HLIX 4.76%’s technology subsidiary, BioTrackTHC, launched its latest integration with customer relationship management platform and loyalty provider, springbig. The integration will enable BioTrack's 2,000+ customer locations to harness their dispensary point of sale data using the best-in-class loyalty tools provided by springbig, allowing them to optimize revenue growth by targeting customers based on best-selling products, purchasing trends and more.

"The data that businesses are collecting through their BioTrack dispensary point of sale software is the most essential asset for long-term success and sustained growth for both businesses and the industry at large," said Dr. Moe Afaneh, COO of BioTrackTHC. "It's crucial that we provide our customers with multiple ways to leverage that data and turn it into customer retention, loyalty, and increased sales."

Azuca, a the line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients founded by Chef Ron Silver, announced the launch of its CBD division, with plans to offer hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) simple syrup direct to consumers as well as to restaurants, bars and coffee shops through a wholesale model. To support growth of the CBD business, Azuca has expanded its ranks with the addition of two new team members. Cannabis industry veteran Jonathan Teeters joins as General Manager and Director of Business Development, with Barney Stacher joining as Executive Sales Director.

“Part of our global expansion strategy, the launch of Azuca’s CBD division is a reflection of our team’s unwavering dedication to delivering fast-acting, consistent and trustworthy products at scale,” said Kim Rael, Azuca CEO. “Our ultimate goal is to make the benefits of cannabis available to a broad, international audience in an approachable, delicious form that appeals to both the novice and experienced consumer. The addition of two passionate and savvy new professionals positions us for continued growth as we work towards setting the industry standard for consistency, precision and predictability in edibles.”

Documentary film “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” was the latest to experience Facebook Inc FB 6.32%’s cannabis censorship. This is a film aimed at educating audiences about cannabis legalization and generating debate around debate the federal drug policy; yet, Facebook won’t allow the producers to promote with ads.

Director Windy Borman said, “Facebook’s tricks are not new: legitimate content is censored while millions of fake accounts post ‘fake news’. The company states ‘advocacy and awareness campaigns are allowed’ but then blocks our ads when cannabis is legal in Canada and four US states are voting on cannabis this Election Day. That’s censorship pure and simple. Facebook should shut down real threats to democracy not punish filmmakers for following the rules.”

The Hemp Biz Conference is seeking experts in both hemp and business to speak at its inaugural B2B conference May 1 and 2 2019, in Denver, Colorado.

“We have spent two years reviewing the nascent hemp industry and have identified key issues within the current supply chain. We’re seeking the brightest minds to share insights from their business experiences in regulation, agriculture, processing, manufacturing (including CBD, functional foods, fiber and fuel), education and new consumer acquisition,” said the organizers.

Jane Technologies, a retail tech company that created a cannabis-focused ecommerce marketplace, completed a successful Series A funding round of $6 million through private investors. This comes after the rapid growth and expansion of their marketplace to nearly 500 dispensary partners across 19 states and US territories, in just over a year. The funding will help Jane continue to bring dispensaries both the latest technological advances and data analytics, while providing consumers a smarter, optimized shopping experience.

“This funding will enable us to continue supporting the growth of our dispensary partners in this booming, competitive landscape,” said Jane CEO and Co-founder Socrates Rosenfeld. “Our model supports dispensaries in increasing online and in-store traffic, improving customer service, and ultimately increasing sales. We remain committed to transforming e-commerce for this industry and providing consumers with the ability to shop for their cannabis in the same manner as they shop for everything else in this world.”

CannaTech Sydney took place this week. Jeff Kiehn, CEO of 365 Cannabis, a seed-to-sale tracking software fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics ERP technology, told Benzinga Sydney-based Solaris Nutraceuticals will utilize 365 Cannabis for its greenhouse operations when it launches in 2019.

Solaris Nutraceuticals plans to build the largest medicinal cannabis greenhouse in the Southern Hemisphere, approximately 1.2 million square-feet. According to New Frontier Data, the Oceania cannabis market, both legal and illicit, is estimated at $5 billion.

Healthier Choices Management Corp. HCMC announced it has been issued three U.S. Patents related to its Q-Cup technology. This is a significant milestone for HCMC and represents their continued commitment to the growth of shareholder value.

Jeffrey E. Holman, CEO Healthier Choices Management Company said, "The timing was extremely fortuitous as our partners in Las Vegas will be hosting their launch event on Nov. 4, 2018, for hundreds of the most significant players in the Nevada Cannabis market. They've rented an entire 140 room hotel for the event and will be showcasing our technology with the launch of their new Highland Brothers brand.”

Nexien Biopharma Inc. NXEN 3.92% announced it acquired New Jersey-based CRx Bio Holdings. The combined companies will formulate FDA approved cannabinoid therapies with the objective of enhancing the bioavailability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids.

Alex Wasyl, CEO Nexien Biopharma told us that “The acquisition...is a major step in developing FDA approved cannabinoid therapeutics and optimized delivery system platforms. As a serial life sciences entrepreneur, I founded CRx with this vision, based on my 10 years of research in cannabinoid and related sciences, with the goal of creating real pharmaceutical medicines.”

Lifestyle cannabis company WeekendUnlimited Inc. (CSE: YOLO) entered into an arms-length binding letter of intent to acquire the Jamaican cannabis company, R&D Pharma, one of three approved Tier-3 cultivators in the country. The acquisition also includes a 49 percent stake in one of the other two Tier-3 license holders in Jamaica.

“By adding R&D to our brand portfolio, we secure a highly coveted asset for cultivation in a low cost, high-quality environment like Jamaica, which has international appeal in the cannabis space, with unparalleled lifestyle applications. This acquisition in Jamaica represents a significant step for Weekend Unlimited as it implements its strategy to be a top tier integrated cannabis company,” said Weekend Unlimited President and CEO, Cody Corrubia.

Find out more about these news and others on MedMen, Cresco Labs, Sugarmade, Hydrofarm, Tiger Global, Casa Verde, the Wayland Group and Nevada cannabis sales with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.

More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk

Over the week, Benzinga’s also reported on:

Aurora’s rocky NYSE debut.

Danny Moses, a private investor and entrepreneur best known for his role as a trader navigating the global financial crisis as chronicled in Adam McKay’s Oscar-winning movie "The Big Short," being named the third independent member of Merida Capital Partners’ six-person investment committee.

The Biggest Lesson Cannabis Investors Can Learn From The Sell-Off In Stocks.”

One cannabis stock that is not in a downtrend.

Molson Coors Brewing Co TAP 3.11%’s intention to launch a cannabis beverage next year.

New Frontier Data’s take on hemp investing, surge in electricity usage for cannabis cultivation.

Jeff Siegel’s picks among small cannabis companies.

Check out these and more cannabis stories in our Cannabis section.

Interesting Data

Cannabis media outlet The Fresh Toast surpassed High Times in terms of traffic for the first time ever, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 5.74%’s Alexa data shows.

“Hard work pays off... The steady growth of our online audience shows there’s tremendous interest from mainstream readers in cannabis lifestyle and medical content. At the end of the day, everything is about our readers, and we are so grateful that so many people are turning to us for their cannabis information,” said founder and publisher JJ McKay.

Brightfield Group survey of more than 5,000 CBD users around the country found that 24 percent have used it as a method to quit smoking. Quitters are often replacing cigarettes with either smokeable hemp or vaping: 41 percent of quitters have entirely replaced tobacco with hemp CBD entirely.

Jamie Schau, Senior Analyst at the Brightfield Group told Benzinga, “CBD lends itself extremely well to the needs of those who have been struggling to kick their tobacco habits and need a better option.

"Since it can be vaped or smoked, hemp CBD can substitute the physical need smokers feel to hold a cigarette (or vape, for that matter). Furthermore, CBD is known for curbing anxiety, nausea and other maladies smokers turn to cigarettes for – but isn’t known to be addictive, while nicotine is. It doesn’t give users a high, so it is more approachable by those who haven’t used cannabis before or are concerned its effects will have negative repercussions in their work/school/home environments. CBD allows for a gentle transition away from tobacco, and as the tidal wave of hemp CBD use grows, smokers are taking notice.”

Events Calendar

Nov. 3: The Green Solution will celebrate the grand opening of its 16th location in Colorado, with vendor pop-ups and product specials. The new location is located at 3318 S. Federal Blvd. in Sheridan, Colo. Founded in 2010, The Green Solution was one of Colorado’s first dispensaries and now offers more than 50 strains of cannabis, as well as a variety of concentrates, edibles and related cannabis products.

Nov. 8: Doctors in Baltimore can enhance their knowledge about medical cannabis treatment, and how it affects the 35,000-and-growing Maryland MMJ patients, at the inaugural Maryland Medical Cannabis Forum (MMCF).

“As more and more states legalize medical cannabis, it is important to move the narrative from legalization to legitimization,” said Stephen Gardner, CMO of Tikun Olam, one of MMCF’s sponsors. “One clear way to do this is through education and presenting clinical trials and studies, like the ones Tikun Olam has done in Israel. Due to the favorable regulatory environment in Israel, we are able to partner with leading hospitals and universities in our quest to better understand this plant. We hope forums like these better equip doctors to make informed decisions.”

Nov. 9: Benzinga is hosting the Benzinga Michigan Cannabis Business Roundtable in Detroit. Join us along an all-star group of investors and operators as we seek to accelerate the growth of the cannabis industry in Michigan. This will be the first event focused on the cannabis space after the all-important Nov. 6 cannabis legalization vote.

Nov. 26: Dustin Brandon Is bringing together over 35 farms for an Oregon event that celebrates “Croptober." Oregons top farm’s can network and meet with representatives from over 180 Portland registered dispensaries and some of Oregon's best oil processors.

Dec. 10–12: Five years after the approval of the first comprehensive cannabis regulation law in the world, Monitor Cannabis Uruguay and the School of Social Science of Universidad de la República are convening an academic discussion on the various aspects that arise from the implementation and results of a law of this kind.

With this congress, Monitor Cannabis Uruguay intends to improve the flow of evidence-based information on cannabis regulation policy, as well as to disseminate and facilitate scientific research linked to cannabis in Uruguay, the region and the world. The congress will be held at the School of Social Science of Universidad de la República.


Azuca Brings Innovative Artisan Edibles to Medical Market

—New Brand Leverages Breakthrough Technology to Offer Customizable Culinary Cannabis Experience—

NEW YORK (October 2018) — Azuca, a line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients, is launching in the medical-use market, with products hitting shelves in the iAnthus network of dispensaries. Azuca’s product suite will fill the cannabis industry’s demand for an edible that offers a more controllable experience—not to mention a great taste.

The line consists of a variety of cannabis-infused sweeteners and syrups in THC, CBD and combination formulas, which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. Products are available in a wide range of flavors, all made in artisan batches to deliver medical benefits that not only provide patients with discreet relief, but are delicious as well. In addition to the sweeteners—with flavor options including lemon, pomegranate and orange—the line also offers an array of shortbread cookies, chocolate coins and Pâte de Fruit in both high and low doses, customizable for individual medical needs.

Azuca products are set apart by their patent-pending technology, developed by Azuca Founder and Chief Creative Officer Ron Silver, which wraps the cannabis molecules to make them more water soluble, allowing for easy digestion in the stomach, and avoiding the gut and liver where cannabis is degraded and absorption is slowed. Increased water solubility is associated with increased bioavailability and faster onset, enabling patients to more accurately and effectively medicate.

Silver brings a unique set of expertise to the cannabis market, as a renowned chef and owner of Bubby’s, a popular brunch destination with two locations in New York City and seven in Japan. Recognizing a void for trustworthy edibles in the marketplace, Silver developed the underlying technology for Azuca over a two-year period of R&D, before infusing it into specially crafted edibles that combine the science with chef-quality taste to offer medical relief in a safer, more desirable way.

Azuca is licensing its Intellectual Property to iAnthus, to bring its innovative cannabis solutions to iAnthus affiliates like the Massachusetts Registered Medical Dispensary, Mayflower Medicinals. Mayflower Medicinals will cultivate and manufacture world-class cannabis products out of its 36,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art production facility in Holliston, MA.

“Even as cannabis becomes less stigmatized in the U.S., there is still a widespread issue with edibles causing unpredictable and negative experiences. Cannabis is a powerful medicinal plant with a myriad of health benefits that should not be deterred by a lack of trust. To resolve the common problems plaguing today’s consumers, Azuca edibles utilize a unique technology that delivers a more controllable effect. Launching with iAnthus is the first of many milestones for Azuca, as we continue to grow our brand and push the boundaries of product innovation,” said Silver.

Leading the Azuca management team is Kim Sanchez Rael, CEO, who has entered the cannabis industry with over 20 years of entrepreneurial start-up, executive management, policy and venture investing experience.

# # #

About Azuca

Azuca is a privately-held, investor-backed cannabis company which commercializes a line of edible products using patent-pending technology. This technology wraps cannabis molecules in order to make them more water soluble, to increase bioavailability and effectiveness and minimize wait-time for more controlled, reliable edibles.

The Azuca product line consists of sweeteners and syrups which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. CBD products are anticipated to be available nationwide from late 2018, while THC products will be launching through licensed dispensaries in legal cannabis markets.

The Cannabis Market

Azuca is tapping into the burgeoning cannabis market with its edible line. According to industry estimates, the legal cannabis market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. Currently recreational use is legal in nine states plus Washington D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, with edibles representing a fast-growing segment.  New adopters are often health conscious and averse to smoking and vaping, making cannabis edibles the ideal solution.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gabrielle Wesseldyk at gabrielle@rosengrouppr.com or 212.255.0945.


Leading Edibles Brand Azuca Launches CBD Division

—New Executive Sales Director and General Manager Join World-Class Team—

NEW YORK (October 30, 2018) — Azuca—the line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients founded by Chef Ron Silver—today announced the launch of its CBD division, with plans to offer hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) simple syrup direct to consumers as well as to restaurants, bars and coffee shops through a wholesale model.

To foster and support growth of the CBD business, Azuca has expanded its ranks with the addition of two new sales-savvy team members, enhancing the company’s experienced lineup of culinary and cannabis industry professionals.

Barney Stacher joins the Azuca team as Executive Sales Director, spearheading sales initiatives and leading the sales infrastructure process for Azuca’s CBD division. Stacher’s responsibilities will include driving both business-to-business and direct-to-consumer deals. He comes to Azuca with more than 20 years of experience in directing business development initiatives in sales, marketing, and product strategy. Stacher has worked closely with leading brands—including Hyatt and Macy’s—across the retail, food, hospitality and tech industries to analyze diverse information and produce valuable insights. Prior to joining Azuca, Stacher launched the iced tea brand Teany with electronic musician Moby. Stacher has a proven track record of facilitating teams to expedite innovation and generate revenue.

“I have always been motivated by a strong passion for communicating the value of emerging brands with unique stories to tell,” Stacher said. “When I first learned about Azuca, I was immediately captivated by the brand message, groundbreaking technology and delicious taste—all culminating in a truly innovative product that is distinct from any other CBD offering on the market. I’m eager to play an active role in making Azuca a national, household name by connecting consumers and business owners alike with Azuca’s high-quality and versatile ingredients and edibles that appeal to both cannabis experts and novices.”

Jonathan Teeters joins as General Manager of Azuca’s CBD Division and Director of Business Development. Teeters served on the Board of Directors for the Minority Cannabis Business Association and brings deep industry experience in the cannabis space, most recently leading a team in Washington to open the first dispensary on an Indian Reservation for a Native American tribe. Teeters previously served as Director of Operations at the prominent cannabis publication, DOPE Magazine, and founded NorthStar Therapeutics, an online marketplace offering CBD therapeutic products direct to consumers.

“As the momentum for widespread legalization continues to pick up speed, new cannabis startups are emerging left and right. In this increasingly crowded and competitive landscape, it’s imperative for brands to stand out and differentiate themselves,” Teeters said. “I’ve seen countless cannabis companies open and close their doors over the last half-decade, and I’ve developed an instinct for identifying the most viable products. Azuca not only demonstrates immense potential from both a consumer-facing and wholesale perspective, but it also represents the ‘gold standard’ that other companies should strive to achieve from a product development standpoint. It’s an honor to join a skilled and ambitious team that is going above and beyond to elevate the CBD sector with unparalleled precision and reliability.”

“With two accomplished new team members joining, Azuca’s CBD division is poised for unprecedented success,” said Kim Rael, Azuca CEO. “Barney and Jonathan’s experience in brand building and sales marketing ushers in an exciting period of growth for Azuca. As we continue to expand our team, product line and national reach, we look forward to providing both new and veteran customers with the comfort and relief they seek in our approachable, natural and trustworthy edibles and ingredients.”

# # #

About Azuca

Azuca is a privately-held, investor-backed cannabis company which commercializes a line of edible products using patent-pending technology. This technology envelops cannabis molecules in order to make them more water soluble, increasing bioavailability and effectiveness and minimizing latency for more controlled, reliable edibles.

The Azuca CBD introductory product line consists of sweeteners and syrups which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. Additional CBD products are anticipated to be available nationwide in 2019, while THC products are launching through licensed partners and dispensaries in legal cannabis markets.

The Cannabis Market

Azuca is tapping into the burgeoning cannabis market with its edible line. According to industry estimates, the legal cannabis market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. Currently recreational use is legal in nine states plus Washington D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 31 states, with edibles representing a fast-growing segment.  New adopters are often health conscious and averse to smoking and vaping, making cannabis edibles the ideal solution.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gabrielle Wesseldyk at gabrielle@rosengrouppr.com or 212.255.0945.


Meet Quino Baca: Head of the Kitchen Crew Behind Azuca

Chef turned cannabis culinarian, Joaquin (Quino) Baca is one of the key creative forces behind Azuca.

A member of the Azuca team since the very beginning, Quino has helped build out a product line of pioneering cannabis edibles that not only taste amazing, but also set an industry standard for what it means to provide consumers with a trustworthy, consistent and reliable cannabis product.

Quino’s resume touts headlining names like Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ko and Ssäm Bar, which he opened up with food industry mogul and former business partner David Chang before venturing off on his own to open up Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Southwestern-meets-New-American style restaurant was a local gem and married Quino’s New York-based ambitions with his penchant for the smoky, Southwestern flavors he grew to love while living with cattle-ranching relatives in Texas. His latest restaurant, Teo, is set to open later this year.

Curious to hear chef Quino’s perspective on his new role with Azuca? We were, too.

In a recent Q&A session, Quino shared his thoughts on helming the kitchen crew of Azuca, his favorite product, and what he’s up to when he’s not in production mode (spoiler alert: chefs are always on the clock). Read on to see what he said.

How have your skills as a chef transferred to your role at Azuca?

Production and R&D are two major parts of my role at Azuca. The production part is second-nature to me. Logistics, organization – those are integral aspects of running a restaurant kitchen, and that’s what I do for a living. On the R&D side, my chef skills and experience come into play by way of problem-solving and ideas for inspiration. What I’m doing at Azuca is still ‘chef work,’ just on a slightly different scale with a slightly different medium.

What has surprised you the most about the process of producing a cannabis edibles line?

What’s most surprising about this whole process is being in a field that’s in such a nascent stage. There’s nothing to go on – no recipe book, very few pre-existing guidelines. It’s all super fascinating, but also a huge challenge because we have to come up with answers to problems that haven’t been solved.

Has that been the biggest challenge then – the fact that the edibles world is, for the most part, uncharted territory?

That’s definitely been one of the major challenges. Having to start from scratch is tough in and of itself, and with so few guidelines and regulations, the learning curve is steep. Other challenges we’ve faced so far have been related to the science and technology that’s involved with making such a precise, fast-acting and reliable product.

As chefs, we know how to make dishes and their component parts, but we’re used to taking tastes here and there, and figuring out what’s missing. When we do this, the end product is undoubtedly delicious, but there’s also a slight variance from dish to dish. We don’t do that with Azuca products, this is not that kind of environment. Scientific exactitude is of the utmost importance here, so we’re always sure to be hyper-organized and exact in everything we do.

What have been the successes?

Being that the edibles world is one without a lot of guidelines, trial and error has played a big role in getting us to where we are today. A lot of our successes have come about as a result of accidents and mistakes because they allow us the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong. We’re constantly learning better and more efficient techniques, improving our products and dreaming up new ideas so that Azuca remains an innovative and exciting – while also reliable and trustworthy – product for our customers.

How did you become involved with Azuca?

I’ve known Ron [Silver; Azuca founder] since 2004, when I opened up Momofuku in the East Village. Ron and his family quickly became super regular customers at the restaurant and, since the initial design of Momofuku consisted of a small open kitchen, we got to know each other pretty well.

Ron and I have a lot in common since we’re both restaurant owners, and over the years we’ve had multiple talks about partnering up on a new venture – the problem was that the timing was never right. This time around with Azuca, the stars aligned. I’m in the middle of closing one restaurant and opening another [Teo], so when Ron came to me needing another set of hands, I thought, how can I resist?

What’s your favorite product from the line?

Pâte de fruits. A cool, old-school classic.

Where do you see Azuca in five years?

In five years, Azuca will be an industry gold standard. As a company, we are dedicated to removing the intimidation factor from edibles and providing people with a variety of products that allow them to customize their experience to their liking.

Sure, some people like to see brightly colored, Willy Wonka-inspired candies on the shelves, but we’re a product line, not a candy company and the reality is that a large number of people consuming edibles have little to no experience with cannabis. The friendly yet sophisticated, adult approach that we’re taking with Azuca is really important in this market and is going to be what helps solidify our reputation as one of the most trusted names in cannabis.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

As a restaurant chef, I’m always working. I also do carpentry, so right now I’m putting finishing touches on my new restaurant, Teo, before it opens later this year. Outside of all that, I love spending time with my son, Mateo – whose name inspired Teo – and I have hobbies like cycling, but my true passion is restaurants.


Bubby’s Hosts Ume Tasting with CBD Infused Products

The beloved restaurant Bubby’s and owner Ron Silver earlier this month hosted a special launch tasting to introduce Wakayama Ume to New York City.

The stateside debut of one of Japan’s rarest plums highlighted a food demo that will soon be available in November at the Tribeca location.

Esteemed for its ability to aid in fatigue recovery and purify the body, the Wakayama Ume boasts a distinctively sour flavor that has solidified a place in the hearts and on the menus of Japan’s top chefs.

Health benefits of the fruit were discussed as guests enjoyed plates featuring Ume syrup on Bubby’s pancakes and in the whipped cream of a warm cobbler.

Guests discovered several health benefits of the fruit, as well as experienced the restaurants special CBD-infused servings. Soon for all of New York City to enjoy and to find a new form for ideal health will be such selections as Ume Mimosas, and Azuca CBD infused Ume Soda.

Be sure to check out the location and here for more details.