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RECENTS

A Glimpse of Hashin in the Windy City State

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

In 2014, Illinois joined the growing list of states with medical cannabis programs, allowing patients with a limited set of health conditions to qualify and a small handful of well-funded companies to cultivate and process medicine for them. Boasting some of the most stringent operational guidelines and lowest tolerances for contaminants in the country, Illinois' program justified the comparatively high prices of dispensary products by chalking them up to the incurred costs of lab testing, not to mention corporate overhead. Fast-forward to New Year's Day 2020 and feverish lines have formed outside once-relaxed shops as shivering masses of adults throughout the state eagerly await their first local recreational purchase, ostensibly numbed from cold and excitement to the shock of steep taxes, particularly for "high-potency" products with THC content reported over 35%.



hash
NuEra solventless bubble hash out of Illinois.

Perhaps most dismaying to cutting-edge concentrate users with experience in other states' markets, more so than the hefty price tags, hectic shopping experiences and restrictive daily purchase limits they were likely to encounter, was the lack of solventless products available after more than five years of exclusively medical sales. As a patient since 2017, I saw rare batches of kief, Moroccan-style hash, and flower rosin reach shelves, yet it always seemed like a consolation prize as I watched the evolution of full-melt and hash rosin develop out West. I began to wonder if the profit margins simply could not sustain high-quality solventless processing in IL's competitive climate as long as cultivators remain locked in wholesale combat over slices of the retail pie, while many of them simultaneously pivoted to the national expansion of their brands.



hashish
Bubble Hash refined with ice and water.

Fortuitously, a small and unassuming dispensary operator called NuMed decided to step up and join the production side with a unique angle: focusing on solventless. In an act of defiance to the BHO-dominated extract market, built on greater biomass returns from hydrocarbon and predictable pricing for consumers, the subsequently renamed NuEra devotes more fresh and cured flower to solventless extracts than any other cultivator, maintaining relationships with close to 30 dispensaries at any given time. Offering freeze-dried full-spec bubble hash (both in grams and mixed into their Dubble joints), flower rosin, and more recently hash rosin, the brand identity taking shape for the rather low-key company is one centered around cleanliness, simplicity, history, respect for the plant, and obtaining the purest medicine from cannabis, reminiscent of CA's Nasha.