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A Clean Product Experience for Those Serious about Their Terpenes: The Raw Garden Promise

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Until fairly recently, cannabis hasn’t exactly been presented with the most minimalist of aesthetics. Most products in the marketplace look as if they’re thirst trapping stoners with extravagant color schemes and bawdy graphics. While the industry has stepped out of the shadows, the branding is still in neighborhood weed dealer mode — shout out to attention-grabbing strain names like Durban Poison and Chemical Cat Piss.

But what about the people who like things neat and simple? The stoners who are looking for a cleanly-designed cannabis experience? Who’s making cannabis for the Apple nerds?

Enter Raw Garden, a California cannabis brand that approaches weed from the sort of farm-first, artisanal vantage point you’d expect from wine cultivars and wraps its products in minimalist packaging, featuring little more than a silhouette of a cannabis sprout. Even more Apple-ish, when you puff from a Raw Garden vape the logo illuminates — just like an old MacBook. But a Steve Jobsian design-bent isn’t what makes Raw Garden the most appealing to cannabis consumers, the award-winning strains and unique flavors are the primary draws.

To date, Raw Garden has produced 839 different strains, with a new drop launching every week. That sounds excessive. Especially in an industry where the longstanding reputation of certain strains still does more to appeal to the average consumer than farming practices and sleek aesthetics. (For evidence of this, ask any budtender how often customers inquire about the famous “Skywalker Kush.”)

“There’s a phenomenal capacity for aromatic diversity in the cannabis plant,” says Raw Garden’s Director of Product Khalid Al-Naser when asked about the brand’s unique approach. “Raw Garden wants to bring that diversity to our customers. These aromas are a result of terpenes and other aromatic compounds that also impact the effect that cannabis has when consumed. This ability for the plant to create aromatic diversity leads to a subsequently wide range of flavors and nuanced effects for consumers.”

In other words, if you’re all about the flavor profile of your cannabis and take your terpenes seriously, Raw Garden is your jam. The company’s product line includes extracts they call “Live Sauce” and “Live Resin,” which are both made from flash-frozen flowers and come in two different consistencies, something called Refined Live Resin Diamonds (more on this in a bit), and refined resin THC cartridges and pens. Because the brand is constantly rotating through strains, we were a bit puzzled on how to conduct a review — recognizing that the strains we tried might not be available when you read this. So instead of focusing on a specific strain and the high it offers, we’re going to review the overall experience of the product form factors instead.

Raw Garden THC Cartridges/Pen

Cartridge Sizes: 1 gram, .5 gram, .3 taster gram

Available Strains: 510 Currently

Average Retail Price: $22 for tester set (includes pen and .3 cart), $29 for .5 gram, or $50 for 1.0 gram

What I really love about Raw Garden’s vape cartridges is that they are priced by size rather than the quality of the product. That’s awesome for first-timers who want to see what Raw Garden has to offer but don’t want to drop close to $100 for a gram of extract and a pen to vape it out of.

As far as the pen goes, we’ve got nothing but praise — it’s sleek and simple, featuring a single button and no temperature control, comes pre-charged enough to last your entire cartridge, and even though it’s totally disposable, it’s also reusable. Meaning once you’ve purchased it, you can slide in any future Raw Garden cartridges and get straight to vaping.

I’ve tried both the Pink Lemonade, which is a sativa mixture that utilizes the genetics of Lemonade and Jack Punch, and the Passionberry, an indica hybrid that mixes Raw Garden’s own Beary’ella with Dos y Dos and 4 am.

Flavor is king with Raw Garden, although both cartridges feature cannabis oil containing no filler, added flavors, or other questionable additives, both strains presented a unique flavor profile and high that relied solely on the strain’s terpene profile for its taste and aroma. While that might lead you to want to earmark your favorites in order to double-dip or simply keep buying the cartridges you like best, I actually appreciate the sort of chaos-theory approach to discovering each new strain.

I was surprised by just how different these two strains tasted, the Pink Lemonade had a much brighter and tart-forward bite to it, whereas the Passionberry’s fruity qualities were more subtle, showing up as part of the aftertaste, lingering on the palate in a pleasing way that didn’t make me feel like I needed a breath mint. Both strains have an underlying herbal taste to them, which helps to instill some confidence that these extracts really don’t have any harsh or questionable additives.

While the packaging is minimalist, each of Raw Garden’s available strains has an extensive chart online that runs through the strain’s full cannabinoid and terpene profile, even going as deep as including an analysis of the chemical residues down to the microgram per gram. That kind of transparency is greatly appreciated.

The Bottom Line

Clean cannabis oil that gets all of its flavor and aroma from the strains and nothing else, as it should be. Dip your toes in with the 0.3 cartridge and pen set.

Raw Garden Refined Live Resin Diamonds

Average Retail Price: $65

I’m a flower guy all the way, extracts aren’t really my thing. But Raw Garden’s Diamond resin just might make me a believer. Straight up, handling Raw Garden’s Diamonds will make you feel like you’re dealing with some hard and questionable drugs, the “Diamond” rocks straight up look like something Walter White would cook up.

These Diamonds are produced by taking Raw Garden’s live cannabis resin and then removing impurities like waxes, fats, and tannins, to produce something that is incredibly clean and laser-focused on its featured terpenes. Think of it like the Cristalino Tequila version of cannabis extract.

I sampled the Midnight Funk which featured 804.4mg of total THC, 90.95% THCa and less than 2.0mg of CBD. This flavor was anything but funky, instead what I got was clean tasting cannabis with a pine-forward flavor that pushed me into a deep state of relaxation after a single hit from my Pax 3 concentrate vape. My only gripe about the Diamonds is that it’s quite hard to dose, the rocks aren’t cut into a uniform shape — meaning you’ll just have to pick an amount you feel comfortable with and hope for the best.

That might lead some into the dangerous territory of getting higher than intended. But to Raw Garden’s credit, they suggest you vaporize at a low temperature right on the box. Vaping at a low temperature will help to not only keep the delicate flavors intact but prevent you from getting too blitzed.

The Bottom Line

A remarkably clean vaping experience for people who are serious about their terpenes. This is Raw Garden’s truly next-level product and a selling point for their farm-first science-heavy approach.

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‘Mountain of equity’: Millions of home owners could save thousands

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If you’ve become a home owner in the past five years it might be worth getting an appraisal – you’re probably sitting on a “mountain of equity”.

As we’re all aware, house prices have soared lately. And while that’s bad news for rapidly worsening inequality, it also means those that do own a home could save money on their mortgages, upgrade their properties or even borrow to finance that renovation they’ve been wanting to get done.

Refinancing could save you thousands in interest repayments a year.

You’ll be in a particularly strong position if you’ve also been able to keep up with your mortgage repayments during COVID, because you now own a larger proportion of a house that has rapidly increased in value lately.

It’s a virtuous cycle that’s making the gap between the haves and have-nots much larger in Australia by pushing up property prices even faster.

Owner occupiers have been the keystone of the latest property boom, with most being existing owners upgrading their homes.

Who could blame them? RateCity research published this week finds an owner occupier in Sydney who bought at the median price in 2019 with a 20 per cent deposit has now seen their wealth increase by $402,000.

Apply the same conditions to Melbourne and wealth has risen $192,000.

This assumes property owners kept up with their mortgage repayments, which the majority of home owners have done while working from home and taking part in a $300 billion government cash splash during COVID.

“Millions of homeowners are sitting on a growing mountain of equity, some without even realising it,” RateCity research director Sally Tindall said.

How to benefit

If you’re in this situation, getting the value of your home appraised could be the first step to a better home loan or moving up the property ladder.

“If you’ve owned your own home for at least a couple of years, and have been diligent about paying down your debt, you could refinance to a lower rate,” Ms Tindall said.

“Lots of lenders offer interest rate discounts to new customers with loan-to-value ratios below 70 per cent, including ‘big four’ banks CBA and Westpac.”

What’s a loan-to-value ratio? Put simply, it’s the difference between the size of your home loan and the value of your property.

So, as an example, if your home is worth $1 million and your mortgage is $100,000 you have a loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of 10 per cent.

The lower your LVR the easier it will be to refinance your loan at a lower interest rate or borrow more to purchase a higher-value property.

First home buyers might also be able to remove the guarantor on their loan sooner than they thought because of rapidly increasing prices.

About 58 per cent of the lowest variable interest rates available are open only to those with deposits of 30 per cent or more, RateCity said.

In other words, rising property prices may have moved you into the club of home owners that can achieve lower interest rates on their mortgages.

A median Sydney property purchased on an 80 per cent LVR in 2019 could now be refinanced on an LVR as low as 55 per cent.

If those conditions are applied in Melbourne, LVR falls to 63 per cent.

 

The post ‘Mountain of equity’: Millions of home owners could save thousands appeared first on The New Daily.

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Here’s why Australians won’t be hit by the soaring gas prices we’re seeing overseas

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Australians have dodged the bullet of skyrocketing gas prices currently hitting consumers in Europe and Asia.

While prices in the major gas hubs of those regions have spiralled up by a factor of five, in Australia a brief spike eased in September.

That means local consumers won’t be facing big jumps in household bills into next year.

Australian gas prices jumped in June and July after outages at coal-fired power plants in Victoria and Queensland boosted demand for gas generation.

That spike was short lived due to warm weather in some states and lockdowns in Victoria and NSW eroding demand, according to research by EnergyQuest.

“You’ve had warmer weather though the major capitals, the effects of the lockdowns and increased renewables, which reduced the demand for gas generation,” EnergyQuest CEO Graeme Bethune said.

Power prices fell

Those factors have also fed into power prices, with electricity costs falling in September in comparison with a year earlier.

What is interesting about the table above is that not only did average power prices drop, but the peak price charged by generators when power is in short supply also dropped.

That was despite the ongoing problems at the Victorian and Queensland power generators.

Part of the explanation is that there is increased output from renewables as rooftop solar grew, and new wind and solar generation came online.

That meant that gas power was called on less often to meet peak demand, which in turn held down power prices.

The inverse was true in Europe, where a 20 per cent fall in wind output over recent months helped run down gas supplies, contributing to the price spike, Mr Bethune said.

The future of power prices in part will depend on renewable output.

“If the wind blows strongly and there is plenty of sunshine across eastern Australia then it will keep pressure off gas prices,” Mr Bethune said.

The influence of renewables across the system in the last year is evident in this chart on power supplies.

Although wind has been stable in terms of its contribution to the power equation, outputs from hydro, solar farms and rooftop solar have risen.

The result is that coal has been pushed down from 65 per cent of power production to a record low of 60 per cent and that should help hold down both gas and electricity costs.

Even if offshore gas prices continue to spike Australian gas producers would not be in a position to push up local prices to match it.

“A lot of the export contracts for LNG [liquified natural gas] out of Queensland are set against the oil price and that has not risen by anywhere near the amount gas had,” Mr Bethune said.

“Then you have the federal government which has made clear to LNG exporters that they need to make enough gas available to the local market.

“They’re doing that regardless of the fact that they could make more money in the export market.”

Domestic users are supplied from long term contracts that cannot be easily changed when gas prices rise, so that would be another brake on prices.

However, while it is comforting to know local gas prices won’t spike to offshore levels, Australian consumers are still not getting as good a deal on prices as they should be, according to Bruce Mountain, Director of Victoria Energy Policy Centre at Victoria University.

“For small customers the gas price is not the big deal. The biggest things are the operation of the retail market and the costs levied by the owners of the gas-distribution pipes,” Professor Mountain said.

“Gas supply has been very profitable for the big gas companies.”

That was in part because consumers don’t bargain-hunt for retailers, and the charges levied to use the pipes and wires of the energy distributors are too high.

Regulators set these charges and could crack down on them but don’t, Professor Mountain said.

Since privatisation margins earned in energy distribution have increased dramatically.

Power distributor AusNet Services, under takeover offers from two groups, “is currently making a margin of 19 per cent – they’re far too profitable,” Professor Mountain said.

When power was distributed by [the state-owned] SECV there was a margin of 3 per cent on sales, Professor Mountain said.

Household power bills could be 15 per cent cheaper if the distribution businesses were less profitable, he said, with the situation similar for the gas sector.

But the move away from gas as a household fuel, necessary to reduce greenhouse emissions, will help deliver cheaper energy.

“Devices that use gas [for household tasks] are much less efficient that those using electricity,” Professor Mountain said.

The post Here’s why Australians won’t be hit by the soaring gas prices we’re seeing overseas appeared first on The New Daily.

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Scott Morrison talked Glasgow, China with News Corp boss over ‘after-dinner drinks’

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the Glasgow climate summit, China and the Biden administration with News Corp executives in New York last month, the company’s global boss has told a Senate inquiry.

Appearing before a Senate probe into media diversity via video link on Friday, News Corp’s global chief executive Robert Thomson revealed he spoke with the PM about international affairs over “after-dinner drinks”.

Mr Morrison was in New York to represent Australia at United Nations’ talks.

Mr Thomson told the inquiry on Friday he presumed the PM wanted to meet because he knew “many” world leaders attending the UN summit.

“I had presumed he wanted some insight about some foreign policy matters,” Mr Thomson said.

Mr Thomson confirmed Mr Morrison didn’t meet News chairman Rupert Murdoch while in New York. He also claimed there was no discussion of the looming federal election.

Mr Thomson said the Glasgow summit came up “in passing” between the pair, but they didn’t talk about News Corp’s planned 16-page net-zero spread across its Australian publications, which has ignited a firestorm of criticism Down Under.

The main topics of discussion were Japan, China, Afghanistan and the “contours” of the Biden administration, Mr Thomson told the inquiry.

“The Prime Minister and I don’t necessarily agree on China,” he said.

Mr Thomson (on TV) said he presumed the PM wanted foreign policy insights. Photo: AAP

Mr Thomson was also asked by Labor senator Kim Carr about whether News Corp directed local editors to take positions on political issues.

Mr Thomson said News Corp’s New York executives had no involvement in recent features on net-zero carbon emissions and that its Australian editors weren’t told from the US what to write.

But he said the company did expect editors to operate within a certain philosophical framework.

“As a company, we have a philosophy about certain issues,” he said.

“We have a philosophy about individual freedom, about the role of the market, about the size of government.”

Mr Thomson said that – as a former editor – he had “discussions” with News Corp’s editors, but that they had a “large amount of local autonomy”.

Senator Carr and the inquiry’s chair, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, grilled the News Corp executive on the publisher’s track record on climate, accusing its Australian papers of platforming climate deniers for more than a decade.

But Mr Thomson said News Corp has been consistent on climate dating as far back as 2004, citing Mr Murdoch’s 2006 statement that the “planet deserves the benefit of the doubt”.

News Corp Australia has just finished a two-week campaign of climate coverage that included its major Australian mastheads running 16-page spreads about net-zero emissions.

The series had many critics, who argued News Corp had a long-held editorial hostility on climate action, including attacks on past Labor government policies targeting emission reduction efforts.

The post Scott Morrison talked Glasgow, China with News Corp boss over ‘after-dinner drinks’ appeared first on The New Daily.

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