• Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Help Small Businesses Navigate Cannabis Industry
    A bill introduced in Congress last week aims to help small business owners navigate the ins and outs of cannabis licensing. The legislation, the Homegrown Act of 2019, would set up a so-called Small Business Association grant program to “provide state and local governments with funding to help small businesses navigate cannabis licensing and employment with a focus on communities most impacted by the War on Drugs,” according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dwight Evans, a Pennsylvania Democrat.  “My bill would act as a poverty-buster and help homegrown small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. We need to make sure that the booming legal cannabis industry does not become consolidated in the hands of a few big companies,” the congressman said in a press release.  “My bill would help small businesses to participate in this industry and knock down barriers to jobs and entrepreneurship for people most adversely impacted by the war on cannabis, which has been especially harsh for people of color,” added Evans, who is Black. The bill, introduced just ahead of Congress’ Fourth of July recess last Thursday, has now been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as to the Committees on the Judiciary, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Small Business—the latter of which Evans serves as vice chairman.  It was one of several bills introduced in the House last week designed to help small business owners in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Another, introduced by Evans, New York Democrat Nydia Velázquez and Maine Democrat Jared Golden, would extend a number of benefits to those operating in the cannabis business, including the ability to receive loans backed by the Small Business Administration.   “As our society continues to move the needle on this issue, we must recognize that legal cannabis businesses are often small businesses that fuel local economies and create new jobs,” Velázquez said of the bill. “That is why I am pleased to introduce legislation to extend affordable lending options to small businesses that operate in the cannabis space, while simultaneously recognizing the structural disadvantages facing entrepreneurs from communities of color.” For Evans, who represents a district that includes several parts of Philadelphia, the fight to end the War on Drugs is nothing new. Last year, he signed on to a bill that would have removed both cannabis and hemp from the federal drug scheduling, saying at the time that he is “one thousand percent on board” with marijuana legalization. The bill, which ultimately languished in committee, would have eliminated ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-07-01
  • Cory Booker ‘Disappointed’ Cannabis Legalization Not a Topic of Democratic Debates
    Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said last Wednesday night that he was ‘disappointed’ that the subject of marijuana legalization did not come up during the Democratic Party debates held this week. The party conducted two separate rounds of debates on Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate the broad field of Democratic candidates. Twenty candidates sparred over the two evenings, 10 each night, while several other Democratic hopefuls failed to qualify to participate in the contests under party rules. “I am absolutely disappointed that wasn’t an issue when you see voters turning out this issue all over the country,” Booker said after the first round of the debates on Wednesday. Booker has been an outspoken advocate for reform of the nation’s marijuana laws, believing that cannabis legalization is an essential part of broader criminal justice reform he is seeking. The junior senator from New Jersey is also calling for the reversal of past convictions for marijuana offenses. “I would like to see the federal government end it’s making marijuana illegal and pull back and let the states do what they want,” said Booker. “But I am also one of those people that thinks you cannot talk about marijuana legalization if in the same sentence you’re not talking about expunging the records of those Americans who have criminal convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing.” Booker Touts His ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ Booker said he was frustrated that the subject of cannabis legalization was not discussed at the debates, characterizing himself “as a guy who has one of the boldest bills” on the issue. In February, Booker reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act in the U.S. Senate, a bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level. He originally introduced the bill in the Senate in 2017, but the measure was never taken up for a vote. Booker said in a statement announcing the re-introduction of the bill that cannabis prohibition has had a devastating effect on minority communities. “The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.” The Marijuana Justice Act has received strong support in the Senate, including from his colleagues and fellow Democratic Party presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-07-01
  • Gene Simmons Opens Marijuana Dispensary Called “Kisspensary”
    KISS founder and bassist Gene Simmons has come a long way from comparing cannabis to heroin. In 2018, Simmons joined the board of Canadian cannabis retailer and producer Invictus MD as “Chief Evangelist Officer.” And now, he’s gearing up to open a KISS-branded dispensary that will feature an exclusive KISS cannabis strain, “KISS Kush.” And while Simmons says his KISSPENSARY is a natural outgrowth of his change of heart regarding the health and wellness benefits of cannabis, he also admits it’s all about the Benjamins. “I see how much money there is to be made,” Simmons said. “It’s going to be very exciting.” KISSPENSARY To Open July 4 in Los Angeles Rock legend Gene Simmons has long-been outspoken against the use of alcohol and drugs. Always a controversial character, especially when it came to cannabis, it was ultimately science that transformed Simmons’ views on marijuana. “I was one of those people who said cannabis is the same thing as heroin,” Simmons told High Times in 2018. “But it’s not! We’re told by researchers every single day that there is not only medical value in cannabis, but even miraculous results from cannabis-based products.” Simmons admits, however, that his entrepreneurial venture into the cannabis industry began as a financial play. Now, however, the KISS bassist is an outspoken advocate for legalization and education around medical and recreational marijuana. Today, his association with marijuana is something he’s proud of—and something he plans to capitalize on. Simmons’ KISSPENSARY, set to open July 4 in Los Angeles, adds to his already diverse portfolio of business ventures, some successful, and some definitely not. “With every purchase [at KISSPENSARY], people will receive a copy of Carnival of Souls and a Peter Criss head coffee mug which we have tons of from our failed KISS Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach,” Simmons said. And in addition to peddling merchandise from other ventures, KISSPENSARY shoppers will have no shortage of options when it comes to KISS-themed cannabis products. From KISS bongs shaped like band members’ heads to KISS rolling papers, KISS grinders and KISS vape pens, KISSPENSARY will have it all. But the highlight, for Simmons, is the dispensary-exclusive strain, KISS Kush. Gene Simmons: From Anti-Pot Zealot to Industry Advocate These days, you won’t hear Gene Simmons say a bad word about cannabis. But it wasn’t always that way. The internet is awash with incredible quotes from Simmons about his views on cannabis. He once told his kids he would cut them out of his will if he ever ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-07-01
  • House Bill Would Permit Interstate Cannabis Commerce
    Two lawmakers from Oregon introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress on Thursday that would allow for the interstate commerce of cannabis between states with legal pot. Under the measure from Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, federal agencies would be prohibited from interfering with cannabis trade between states that have specifically authorized such transfers. If successful, the bill would allow for the implementation of an Oregon state measure authorizing the export of marijuana to other states with legal cannabis. That bill, which was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown earlier this week, is seen as a way to deal with the state’s ongoing glut of legal marijuana. Protecting States’ Rights Wyden said in a press release on Thursday that the new federal bill, the State Cannabis Commerce Act, aims to preserve states’ rights while Congress struggles with the broader issue of marijuana legalization at the national level. “As more and more states legalize cannabis, the gap between state and federal laws will only grow more confusing for both legal businesses and consumers,” Wyden said. “The solution is clear: the federal government needs to end its senseless and out of touch prohibition. As we fight for that ultimate goal, however, Congress can and should immediately act to protect the will of Oregonians and voters in other states from federal interference—and that should include interstate cannabis commerce.” The introduction of the State Cannabis Commerce Act comes only days after representatives in Congress approved a Blumenauer amendment to an appropriations bill that would protect cannabis businesses complying with state or tribal regulations. “The federal government is hopelessly out of touch with the American people on cannabis,” Blumenauer said. “Last week, the House agreed and passed my amendments to forbid the federal government from interfering with cannabis programs in the states, D.C. and tribal communities. This week, we are turning to a top priority for Oregonians—allowing for interstate sale of cannabis. It’s past time we protect the states, like Oregon, that have gotten it right.” The protections afforded in the State Cannabis Commerce Act are similar to those in place since 2014 for medical marijuana patients and providers. But the bill also extends that protection to all compliant businesses and consumers, including those in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Promoting Cannabis Trade Justin Strekal, the political director of activist group the National Orgainization for the Reform of Mariuan Laws (NORML), said in a statement that cannabis should be treated like other regulated consumer commodities. “Interstate commerce is good ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-28
  • Maine Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Regulatory Framework Into Effect
    Maine residents approved legal recreational marijuana back in 2016, but have been waiting on the government to approve a regulatory framework for the industry. Happily, the end of that wait is now in sight. Governor Janet Mills has signed into effect a law establishing cannabis industry guidelines that is set to take effect in September. That means the state’s first marijuana sales could take place as soon as early 2020.  “The rule development demonstrates what can be accomplished when state government works with lawmakers, industry stakeholders and the public to accomplish a shared goal,” said Mills. “With this law, we are one step closer to honoring the will of Maine voters.” The initial regulatory framework is restrictive for out of state cannabis companies hoping to expand into Maine’s new industry. A person who has lived in the state for four years will need to have at least 51 percent ownership for a company to be eligible for a license, a clause that will remain in effect until June 2021.  That’s actually a more relaxed version of the originally proposed policy, which caused uproar from the state’s largest medical cannabis business Wellness Connection of Maine.  The law establishes other restrictions on those eligible for a marijuana sales license in the state; those who have lost a marijuana license in any part of the US, and those who have been convicted of a felony related to a drug besides cannabis in the last decade are out of luck. Jurisdictions will be allowed to opt out of the green rush. In fact, only 15 of Maine’s 455 municipalities have so far expressed interest in stepping up recreational sales systems. The bill’s regulations also stipulate extensive security guidelines for retail location and acceptable marijuana dispensary business hours — from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., open to certain exceptions. Of course, it would be a misnomer to claim that the governor had single handedly legalized marijuana in the state by signing into effect. That honor would more accurately go to the Maine electorate, who voted by a very slim margin back in 2016 to legalize recreational cannabis.  But the road to legal weed sales in Maine hit many snags. In 2017, Republican governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have provided for cannabis sales by November of that year. His reasoning? Saving the youth, of course. “Sending a message, especially to our young people, that some drugs that are still illegal under federal law are now sanctioned by the state may have unintended and ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-28
  • Texas County Prosecutors Dismiss Hundreds of Marijuana Misdemeanors
    Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that will legalize industrial hemp and CBD products. Now, some county prosecutors are grappling with the fallout with the new law—namely, what to do with more than 200 pot-related offenses. The district attorney’s office in Tarrant County, Texas has dismissed 235 marijuana misdemeanors that have been filed since June 10, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Those misdemeanors now require lab tests. But there’s one massive dilemma: under the new law, most labs in the state are unable to differentiate between marijuana, hemp and hemp-related products. The new law in Texas, signed by Abott on June 10 and went into effect immediately, allows farmers in the state to cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, while also clarifying which CBD products are legal. The signing of the law came on the heels of Congress’ passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December, which removed a huge obstacle for states by making hemp legal on the federal level. But both the federal law and the new state law in Texas complicated longstanding legal definitions of what constituted marijuana and hemp. Under the new laws, the concentration of THC would be the chief factor distinguishing the two. In testimony before the Houston Forensic Science Board earlier this month, James Miller, a seized drug analyst, said the new laws — which define hemp as containing less than .3% THC and marijuana as anything above that threshold — “caught a lot of us by surprise.” In order to conduct the necessary testing, Miller said, laws will require additional equipment. As such, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that a “lab report in our estimation is now a requirement of the crime because it’s the only way you can tell legal from illegal.” Most of the dismissed cases, according to Wilson, were for possession of two ounces or less of marijuana.  Those tests “could be quite expensive because it’s rare,” Wilson said, adding that her office is close to finding a viable lab. “We think we found two,” Wilson said. “I’ll be communicating with our police agencies about what those labs are so that they can get that needed lab result and refile the case.” The bill to legalize industrial hemp drew bipartisan support in the Texas state legislature, with both Democrats and Republicans alike applauding what they said could be a boon for local farmers. Sid Miller, the state’s agriculture commissioner, said that “Texas will be a leader in hemp production.” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-28
  • Bid For Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Launched in Idaho
    Cannabis activists in Idaho have launched a bid to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the state and will soon be collecting signatures to put a voter initiative on the ballot for the 2020 election. The legalization initiative was filed with the Idaho Secretary of State on Tuesday by members of the Idaho Cannabis Coalition. Once the initiative has been reviewed by the Secretary of State, activists will have until the end of April to gather the more than 55,000 signatures necessary for the initiative to qualify for the 2020 ballot. If the initiative is successful, patients with a qualifying serious medical condition would be allowed to possess up to four ounces of cannabis for medicinal use. It would also establish a system to regulate the production and sale of medical marijuana and protect medicinal cannabis users from discrimination in employment, housing, and education. “It’s a pretty carefully thought-out regulatory system both for patients and providers,” said James Piotrowski, an attorney representing the initiative effort. Patients Campaign for MMJ John Belville of the Idaho Cannabis Coalition has a chronic condition known as peripheral neuropathy that causes severe pain. His doctors prescribed strong narcotics that were not only ineffective but harmful to his health. Belville learned that medical marijuana could bring him relief while he was visiting neighboring Oregon, where cannabis is legal. I took this little eye dropper and put it under my tongue and waited about 15 minutes and the pain went away,” Belville said about his initial experience with cannabis oil. “Now, I don’t know what anyone thinks about anything else but I’ll tell you right now this stuff works.” Cannabis activist Serra Frank of the Group Legalize Idaho said that it is time to catch up with surrounding states, most of which have already legalized cannabis in some form. “The Idaho Cannabis Coalition’s long-awaited petition provides real hope to the sick and disabled citizens of Idaho,” Frank told High Times in an email. “We have watched anxiously from our little Island of Prohibition, as the rest of the country changes their laws to catch up to common sense.” Frank, who left Idaho for Oregon so she could use medical marijuana legally, will be able to return home if the initiative succeeds. “We’ve been waiting for so long to have a chance to use this natural medicine without risking persecution, prosecution, incarceration, and the destruction of our families,” she said. “We finally see a light in the darkness – a chance to be ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Abercrombie & Fitch To Sell CBD Products at Over 160 Locations
    It would have been impossible to guess, in the glory days of clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, that the company would one day be relying on cannabinoids to up its business forecast. But with shares down 20 percent this year, the mall staple is casting around for new ideas. Here’s the latest; soon customers at 160 of the national chain’s store locations will be able to buy CBD-infused beauty products.  Earlier this year, A&F — which also owns the Abercrombie Kids and Hollister clothing retail chains— announced plans to close flagship locations in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, Hong Kong, and Copenhagen. The brand, originally founded in 1892 to supply rich outdoors enthusiasts with gear, has been battling slow sales, and continues to look for its footing after chief executive Mike Jeffries left in 2014.  What weed goodies will you be able to buy at the preppy shopping center fashion mecca? A&F is partnering with Ohio-born Green Growth Brands and will be hawking its Seventh Sense line of wares, from lip balms to exfoliating body scrubs. GGB already sells the products — including muscle balms and foot creams — in 100 DSW shoe store locations and at Neiman Marcus.  For its part, Green Growth Brands sees the new project as an expansion opportunity. “Abercrombie & Fitch understands how to connect with their target-customer … across the globe,” Green Growth Brands CEO Peter Horvath said. “They have incredible brand recognition in our current target markets and beyond.” The recent announcement is not the first time the GGB and A&F brands have linked. In May, 10 stores sold GGB products during a retail test run. Customers at locations in Colorado and Nevada, among other states, were privy to this initial rollout.  Walgreens, Urban Outfitters, CVS, and Rite Aid are among the other big name brands that have chosen to stock CBD products. Other corporations have announced that they are investing or investigating the possibilities of the cannabinoid, such as Walmart. CBD has been the subject of much capitalistic endeavor over the past year, and recent figures released by BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research estimated that its industry would grow past $20 billion by the year 2024. Companies have inserted the cannabinoid into a vast spectrum of products, from beer to dietary supplements to Martha Stewart’s announced line of CBD pet products. This expansion has not gone without its challenges. Last year, a San Francisco brewery was forced to halt production on its line of CBD brews, and the New York City ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Snoop Dogg Draws Wrath of English Soccer Fans Over Pro-Weed Meme
    Musician and cannabis enthusiast Snoop Dogg is facing an online backlash over a social media post designed to highlight the disparate dangers between marijuana and alcohol.  Pot advocates have long touted its safety relative to booze and other drugs, of course, but Snoop ran afoul by using a legendary but troubled former English soccer player to illustrate that comparison. The meme posted Wednesday on Snoop Dogg’s Instagram account showed four photos: two of the iconic West Coast rapper and two of Paul Gascogine, a decorated soccer player who starred for the England national team and clubs like Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur in the 1980s and 1990s.  The two photos of Gascogine, placed under a caption that read “Alcohol Abuse,” show him at age 20 and 47 with clear signs of physical deterioration evident. Under the caption “Marijuana Abuse” are a pair of photos of Snoop at the same two ages with no major differences in his appearance. 
    View this post on Instagram A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Jun 26, 2019 at 2:14pm PDT As brilliant as he was as a player, Gascoigne’s life has been equally turbulent off the field. He entered therapy in the late 1990s, while still a player, to treat his alcoholism—the first of several stints in treatment. He has struggled to maintain his sobriety since then. In 2008, Gascoigne was rushed to the hospital after an apparent drug overdose. He was arrested for drunk driving in 2010 after getting behind the wheel while more than four times over the legal limit, for which he was warned that he could face jail time. A day after that court appearance, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.  In addition to his substance abuse, Gascoigne has also battled mental illness, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the early 2000s.  That tumultuous history prompted many to decry Snoop Dogg’s post and express sympathy for Gascogine, who is known to English soccer fans as “Gazza.”   “This has much more to do with mental health than abuse,” said one Instagram commenter. “It’s actually quite sad you’re using him as a scapegoat.” The British broadcaster Piers Morgan also came to Gascogine’s defense.  “This is nasty,” Morgan tweeted Thursday. “Shame on you @SnoopDogg.” Gascoigne appeared to express his gratitude for the solidarity in a Twitter post of his own on Thursday that included a photo of himself ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Ireland Greenlights Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
    Ireland on Wednesday launched a scheme that will allow its citizens to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Simon Harris, the country’s health minister, signed legislation that establishes a program to give patients access to marijuana for treatment purposes. “The Medical Cannabis Access Programme” will be maintained for five years until 2024, at which time it will undergo a review. Previously, medical marijuana was available only to select patients in the country. Recreational marijuana remains illegal there. Ireland is just the latest European country to greenlight medical marijuana, as more and more governments across the continent reconsider anti-pot laws. In February, the European Union passed a resolution encouraging member states to ease restrictions on medical marijuana. Portugal approved a measure legalizing medical marijuana earlier this month, while Italy, Germany, and Great Britain have enacted similar laws. On Wednesday, the Swiss government announced plans to make it easier for patients to get prescriptions for medicinal cannabis. In Ireland, the effort has been marked by a series of fits and starts. Harris proposed the program two years ago, but its ultimate enactment was delayed by an inability to find a supplier that could export the products into the country. That hurdle was finally cleared earlier this month, allowing Harris to turn the program into a reality on Wednesday. The program will allow medical cannabis treatment for patients suffering from various conditions associated with multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy and epilepsy—as long as those patients have failed to respond to more conventional treatments. The legislation comes a month after a group of doctors, calling themselves the “Cannabis Risk Alliance,” penned an open letter voicing their concerns about the effects of marijuana. In the letter, which was among others signed by Dr. Ray Walley, the former president of the Irish Medical Organisation, the doctors lamented what they called a “one-sided discussion about cannabis.”  “Most of the people taking part in these discussions are sincere and well-intentioned,” they wrote in the letter. “However, as doctors, we are concerned that Ireland is being led down the path of cannabis legalisation. We are opposed to such a move as we strongly feel that it would be bad for Ireland, especially for the mental and physical health of our young people.” On Wednesday, Harris seemed to address those concerns, saying that, “It is important to state that there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country,” as quoted by the Irish Post.  “The purpose of this programme is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Canadian Company Exports Medicinal Cannabis Oil to UK
    Canadian firm Tilray, Inc. has exported its first bulk shipment of medicinal cannabis oil to the United Kingdom, according to a press release from the company. The shipment comes after a controversy over another Tilray product led the U.K. government to approve the use of medical cannabis therapies for some seriously ill patients. The medicine exported to the UK is an oral solution with both THC and CBD as active ingredients. The medication is used to treat pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis-associated spasticity. Tilray produces the cannabis oil in Canada at a Good Manufacuting Practices (GMP) certified facility and has already completed bulk shipments of the drug to other European nations including Germany, Croatia, Cyprus, and Malta. Catherine Jacobson, Tilray’s vice president of medical and regulatory affairs, said that importing the cannabis oil into the U.K. will create a more reliable and accessible source of medicine for patients. “This bulk import of Tilray medical cannabis oral solutions provides patients in need access to a sustained supply of GMP-certified, high quality medical cannabis,” said Jacobson. “This is an important step in improving access in the U.K. Tilray will continue to advocate for reasonable patient access to medical cannabis in the U.K. and countries around the world.” “This allows us to hold a reliable supply in the U.K. so we can avoid having to import on a per-patient basis, shortening the amount of time from prescription to the patient getting the product,” Jacobson added. “If access is too difficult patients will just go to the black market,” she said. “We’ve seen that happen and it’s really dangerous for patients.” Mum’s Advocacy Leads to Legalization of Medical Cannabis in the UK Tilray’s medicinal cannabis products were thrust into the international spotlight last year when another product made by the company was confiscated by customs officials at Heathrow Airport from Charlotte Caldwell. She had traveled to Canada to obtain the medicine for her severely epileptic son Billy, who had been receiving it under a special prescription from the National Health Service. But when Britain’s Home Office ended those prescriptions in May 2018, Charlotte was left without a source of an effective medication for the 12-year–old boy. After missing just one dose of the cannabis medicine, Billy suffered an epileptic seizure and was soon hospitalized. A public outcry augmented by pleas from celebrities caused the government to relent, and Billy’s medicine was returned. The controversy led to a reassessment of the U.K. policy on medical cannabis and in November, the government ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • Swiss Lawmakers Pushing for Medical Cannabis Law Reform
    Patients in Switzerland can currently get a prescription for medical cannabis, but it isn’t easy. The Swiss government wants to change that, laying out a proposal on Wednesday that would eliminate a major barrier for those with cancer and other serious diagnoses to use cannabis to treat their illness.  The proposal would mark a significant change to how Switzerland currently handles medicinal cannabis. Under the present system, patients who would like to use cannabis for treatment are required to apply for an exception with the Federal Health Office; the proposal would allow physicians to directly prescribe marijuana to patients. A number of countries in Europe have recently legalized medical cannabis. Lawmakers in Portugal approved such a measure earlier this month, while Great Britain did the same last summer. In the U.S., 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical cannabis. Still, medical marijuana has been made available to a number of Swiss patients. The government there granted 3,000 exceptions for those seeking the treatment in 2018. In a statement, the Swiss cabinet said that, along with empowering doctors to dole out such prescriptions to patients directly, the proposal would also allow for “[g]rowing and processing medical cannabis as well as its sale” under a system regulated by Swissmedic, a regulatory agency.  There are, however, some remaining kinks to iron out that could stall the proposal’s implementation. The Swiss government said that determining how insurers will be reimbursed will be handled separately from the proposal. And the “biggest obstacle to automatic reimbursement,” according to the government, “is that the scientific evidence of efficacy is not yet sufficient and the conclusions of existing studies are sometimes contradictory.” Such is a recurring dilemma for advocates of both recreational and medicinal marijuana, as legalization efforts have outpaced the amount of credible research into pot’s effects. It’s what prompted a major investor in Canada’s cannabis industry to donate $9 million to both Harvard and MIT to research the effects of marijuana on the brain and behavior. And it’s what’s driven the National Football League, long hostile to marijuana use among its players, to launch a study on the efficacy of medical cannabis as a treatment for pain.  To that end, the Swiss government said that it will launch a study into whether marijuana is indeed an effective remedy. Cannabis has long been used by patients with cancer as a way to relieve pain and bolster appetite, among other benefits. But Swiss residents may ultimately not even need a ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • San Francisco City Officials Vote to Ban Sales of E-Cigarettes
    Concerned over e-cigarettes’ health risk to residents, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to become the first major United States city to ban the sale of the products. The prohibition applies to both in-store sales and delivery of e-cigarettes to city addresses. It will take effect at the beginning of next year.  The ban, which follows voters’ decision last year to prohibit sales of fruit- and dessert-flavored tobacco products, is not meant to be permanent, but rather to put restrictions on the vape pens while they are being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. One caveat — the federal agency’s findings are not due to come out until 2022.  Supervisors are underplussed by any economic duress this may put on e-cig companies.  “Companies like Juul have had three years to submit their product and marketing to the FDA,” says Supervisor Shamann Walton, who co-sponsored the regulation. “The question is, why haven’t they? And the answer is because they want to protect their profits to continue targeting and harming our young people and they know nicotine is not healthy.” Ironically, the company that makes popular Juul e-cigs (“the hottest name in addiction technology,” according to a Gizmodo headline) is also based in the city. Juul Labs Inc., perhaps afraid of the ban catching on in other municipalities, has announced that it will gather signatures to get a measure on ballots that, if successful, would overturn the Board’s decision.  And not only that — legal experts say the language on the bill to which Juul has pledged $500,000 to promote would prevent the city from regulating e-cigarettes in the future.  “This is not a new tactic or an unexpected one,” said attorney Derek Carr of Oakland health equity non-profit ChangeLab Solutions. “It’s really not the role of the tobacco industry to be telling us what’s good for our health and writing our public health laws.” The company will need to collect 9,485 signatures by July 8 to get the ballot measure on the November ballot. In 2018, tobacco corporation R.J. Reynolds spent $12 million on fighting a proposed ballot measure ban on flavored tobacco products. There is certainly cause for alarm over the massive amounts of money that are being pumped into the vaping industry. Studies have shown that Juul marketed early ads to the teen market, and more recently Vice Media was exposed while planning a vaping ad campaign targeted at its youthful audience. In 2018 the US Surgeon General warned of an “e-cigarette epidemic” taking ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • Wiz Khalifa Launches KKE Cannabis Oils in Canada
    Hip-hop icon and weed aficionado Wiz Khalifa announced on Tuesday that he will be releasing a line of Khalifa Kush Enterprises cannabis oils in Canada. The new products will be produced under a partnership between Khalifa, Khalifa Kush Enterprises Canada, and Supreme Cannabis. “I’m excited to bring our first products to Canada and launch KKE Oils,” Khalifa said in a press release. “They are an awesome, high-in-THC product that everyone will love. This is a legendary moment that will be followed by many more game changing releases KKE will launch with Supreme Cannabis over the next year.” Products Target Adult-Use Market The new line of products are a “recreational focused oil, developed for the consumer who wants the convenience, high THC potency and precise dosing offered by a cannabis oil,” the company said. The debut offering of KKE Cannabis Oils will be produced from flower of the Sensi Star strain cultivated by Supreme Cannabis subsidiary 7 Acres at its indoor facility in Kincardine, Ontario. John Fowler, the founder of Supreme Cannabis, said that exceptional cannabis products depend on exceptional plants. “We firmly believe that a high-quality input supports high-quality output and KKE Oil embodies this belief,” Fowler said. “We are excited to launch one of the first recreational focused cannabis oils in Canada with Wiz Khalifa and the KKE team. KKE Oils are easy to consume, effective, and deliver the aromatic terpene profile 7ACRES’ Sensi Star is known for.” KKE Sensi Star oils will be available for purchase later this week in British Columbia and Ontario and in Alberta in early July. The company’s products will begin distribution in other Canadian provinces later in the year. New products from other 7 Acres strains will also launch throughout 2019. “We can’t wait to launch the full suite of KKE products, including KKE Jean Guy Oil, later this year,” said Fowler. Partnership Announced Last Year Khalifa announced the partnership between KKE and Supreme Cannabis in December 2018, noting that it was the first time the company was extending its reach beyond the United States, where the firm was founded earlier that year. “Canada is a very important place to me with the idea for ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ being created in Toronto, it’s the perfect start for the international expansion of Khalifa Kush,” he said. “My team and I have spent the past year finding a partner that shares our vision, values and passion for cannabis. The team at Supreme Cannabis understands the importance of high quality cannabis and how ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
    Two men, one of whom is a Baltimore mail carrier, have pleaded guilty to smuggling marijuana into the city through the U.S. Postal Service. Both men face decades in federal prison as punishment for their convictions, according to a report in local media. Michael Gray pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana this week and could spend up to 20 years in prison for his role in the smuggling operation. William McRae, an employee of the Postal Service, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and faces incarceration of up to 40 years. Investigators discovered that since early 2017, more than 200 packages deemed to be suspicious had all been shipped from California to the 21223 ZIP code in Baltimore. The parcels had all been sent to addresses that were on McRae’s carrier route, according to court documents. On November 17, 2017, investigators learned that eight Priority Mail packages were on their way to the same Baltimore address at 1100 Hollins Street. Three of the parcels were intercepted en route and each was found to contain approximately one kilogram of a green plant material that tested positive for marijuana. Suspicious Packages Lead to Surveillance of Mail Carrier In early January 2018, investigators discovered that two more packages, each weighing 10 pounds, were being shipped to the same Baltimore address from California. McRae’s mail route was then put under surveillance by investigators, who saw McRae park his USPS vehicle on the street before being met by another man later identified as Gray, who arrived in a silver Volvo and parked behind the mail carrier. Investigators watched as McRae handed a package to Gray. USPS records revealed that he had scanned one of the suspicious packages as being delivered at the time and location of the meeting with Gray. The second package was never delivered to Baltimore, according to Postal Service data. Later in January, postal investigators learned that seven more packages, six weighing about 20 pounds and the last about two pounds, were on the way to the same Baltimore address. Two of the packages were intercepted and a search warrant was obtained by investigators. The packages were then opened and one was found to contain 1,005 grams of cannabis, while the other had 6,750 grams of marijuana. In November 2018, five more parcels were intercepted. A search warrant was obtained for one of the packages and investigators found 2,160 grams of marijuana. The parcel was then repackaged and allowed ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-25
 
  • Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Help Small Businesses Navigate Cannabis Industry
    A bill introduced in Congress last week aims to help small business owners navigate the ins and outs of cannabis licensing. The legislation, the Homegrown Act of 2019, would set up a so-called Small Business Association grant program to “provide state and local governments with funding to help small businesses navigate cannabis licensing and employment with a focus on communities most impacted by the War on Drugs,” according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dwight Evans, a Pennsylvania Democrat.  “My bill would act as a poverty-buster and help homegrown small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. We need to make sure that the booming legal cannabis industry does not become consolidated in the hands of a few big companies,” the congressman said in a press release.  “My bill would help small businesses to participate in this industry and knock down barriers to jobs and entrepreneurship for people most adversely impacted by the war on cannabis, which has been especially harsh for people of color,” added Evans, who is Black. The bill, introduced just ahead of Congress’ Fourth of July recess last Thursday, has now been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as to the Committees on the Judiciary, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Small Business—the latter of which Evans serves as vice chairman.  It was one of several bills introduced in the House last week designed to help small business owners in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Another, introduced by Evans, New York Democrat Nydia Velázquez and Maine Democrat Jared Golden, would extend a number of benefits to those operating in the cannabis business, including the ability to receive loans backed by the Small Business Administration.   “As our society continues to move the needle on this issue, we must recognize that legal cannabis businesses are often small businesses that fuel local economies and create new jobs,” Velázquez said of the bill. “That is why I am pleased to introduce legislation to extend affordable lending options to small businesses that operate in the cannabis space, while simultaneously recognizing the structural disadvantages facing entrepreneurs from communities of color.” For Evans, who represents a district that includes several parts of Philadelphia, the fight to end the War on Drugs is nothing new. Last year, he signed on to a bill that would have removed both cannabis and hemp from the federal drug scheduling, saying at the time that he is “one thousand percent on board” with marijuana legalization. The bill, which ultimately languished in committee, would have eliminated ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-07-01
  • Cory Booker ‘Disappointed’ Cannabis Legalization Not a Topic of Democratic Debates
    Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said last Wednesday night that he was ‘disappointed’ that the subject of marijuana legalization did not come up during the Democratic Party debates held this week. The party conducted two separate rounds of debates on Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate the broad field of Democratic candidates. Twenty candidates sparred over the two evenings, 10 each night, while several other Democratic hopefuls failed to qualify to participate in the contests under party rules. “I am absolutely disappointed that wasn’t an issue when you see voters turning out this issue all over the country,” Booker said after the first round of the debates on Wednesday. Booker has been an outspoken advocate for reform of the nation’s marijuana laws, believing that cannabis legalization is an essential part of broader criminal justice reform he is seeking. The junior senator from New Jersey is also calling for the reversal of past convictions for marijuana offenses. “I would like to see the federal government end it’s making marijuana illegal and pull back and let the states do what they want,” said Booker. “But I am also one of those people that thinks you cannot talk about marijuana legalization if in the same sentence you’re not talking about expunging the records of those Americans who have criminal convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing.” Booker Touts His ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ Booker said he was frustrated that the subject of cannabis legalization was not discussed at the debates, characterizing himself “as a guy who has one of the boldest bills” on the issue. In February, Booker reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act in the U.S. Senate, a bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level. He originally introduced the bill in the Senate in 2017, but the measure was never taken up for a vote. Booker said in a statement announcing the re-introduction of the bill that cannabis prohibition has had a devastating effect on minority communities. “The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.” The Marijuana Justice Act has received strong support in the Senate, including from his colleagues and fellow Democratic Party presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-07-01
  • Gene Simmons Opens Marijuana Dispensary Called “Kisspensary”
    KISS founder and bassist Gene Simmons has come a long way from comparing cannabis to heroin. In 2018, Simmons joined the board of Canadian cannabis retailer and producer Invictus MD as “Chief Evangelist Officer.” And now, he’s gearing up to open a KISS-branded dispensary that will feature an exclusive KISS cannabis strain, “KISS Kush.” And while Simmons says his KISSPENSARY is a natural outgrowth of his change of heart regarding the health and wellness benefits of cannabis, he also admits it’s all about the Benjamins. “I see how much money there is to be made,” Simmons said. “It’s going to be very exciting.” KISSPENSARY To Open July 4 in Los Angeles Rock legend Gene Simmons has long-been outspoken against the use of alcohol and drugs. Always a controversial character, especially when it came to cannabis, it was ultimately science that transformed Simmons’ views on marijuana. “I was one of those people who said cannabis is the same thing as heroin,” Simmons told High Times in 2018. “But it’s not! We’re told by researchers every single day that there is not only medical value in cannabis, but even miraculous results from cannabis-based products.” Simmons admits, however, that his entrepreneurial venture into the cannabis industry began as a financial play. Now, however, the KISS bassist is an outspoken advocate for legalization and education around medical and recreational marijuana. Today, his association with marijuana is something he’s proud of—and something he plans to capitalize on. Simmons’ KISSPENSARY, set to open July 4 in Los Angeles, adds to his already diverse portfolio of business ventures, some successful, and some definitely not. “With every purchase [at KISSPENSARY], people will receive a copy of Carnival of Souls and a Peter Criss head coffee mug which we have tons of from our failed KISS Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach,” Simmons said. And in addition to peddling merchandise from other ventures, KISSPENSARY shoppers will have no shortage of options when it comes to KISS-themed cannabis products. From KISS bongs shaped like band members’ heads to KISS rolling papers, KISS grinders and KISS vape pens, KISSPENSARY will have it all. But the highlight, for Simmons, is the dispensary-exclusive strain, KISS Kush. Gene Simmons: From Anti-Pot Zealot to Industry Advocate These days, you won’t hear Gene Simmons say a bad word about cannabis. But it wasn’t always that way. The internet is awash with incredible quotes from Simmons about his views on cannabis. He once told his kids he would cut them out of his will if he ever ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-07-01
  • House Bill Would Permit Interstate Cannabis Commerce
    Two lawmakers from Oregon introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress on Thursday that would allow for the interstate commerce of cannabis between states with legal pot. Under the measure from Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, federal agencies would be prohibited from interfering with cannabis trade between states that have specifically authorized such transfers. If successful, the bill would allow for the implementation of an Oregon state measure authorizing the export of marijuana to other states with legal cannabis. That bill, which was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown earlier this week, is seen as a way to deal with the state’s ongoing glut of legal marijuana. Protecting States’ Rights Wyden said in a press release on Thursday that the new federal bill, the State Cannabis Commerce Act, aims to preserve states’ rights while Congress struggles with the broader issue of marijuana legalization at the national level. “As more and more states legalize cannabis, the gap between state and federal laws will only grow more confusing for both legal businesses and consumers,” Wyden said. “The solution is clear: the federal government needs to end its senseless and out of touch prohibition. As we fight for that ultimate goal, however, Congress can and should immediately act to protect the will of Oregonians and voters in other states from federal interference—and that should include interstate cannabis commerce.” The introduction of the State Cannabis Commerce Act comes only days after representatives in Congress approved a Blumenauer amendment to an appropriations bill that would protect cannabis businesses complying with state or tribal regulations. “The federal government is hopelessly out of touch with the American people on cannabis,” Blumenauer said. “Last week, the House agreed and passed my amendments to forbid the federal government from interfering with cannabis programs in the states, D.C. and tribal communities. This week, we are turning to a top priority for Oregonians—allowing for interstate sale of cannabis. It’s past time we protect the states, like Oregon, that have gotten it right.” The protections afforded in the State Cannabis Commerce Act are similar to those in place since 2014 for medical marijuana patients and providers. But the bill also extends that protection to all compliant businesses and consumers, including those in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Promoting Cannabis Trade Justin Strekal, the political director of activist group the National Orgainization for the Reform of Mariuan Laws (NORML), said in a statement that cannabis should be treated like other regulated consumer commodities. “Interstate commerce is good ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-28
  • Maine Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Regulatory Framework Into Effect
    Maine residents approved legal recreational marijuana back in 2016, but have been waiting on the government to approve a regulatory framework for the industry. Happily, the end of that wait is now in sight. Governor Janet Mills has signed into effect a law establishing cannabis industry guidelines that is set to take effect in September. That means the state’s first marijuana sales could take place as soon as early 2020.  “The rule development demonstrates what can be accomplished when state government works with lawmakers, industry stakeholders and the public to accomplish a shared goal,” said Mills. “With this law, we are one step closer to honoring the will of Maine voters.” The initial regulatory framework is restrictive for out of state cannabis companies hoping to expand into Maine’s new industry. A person who has lived in the state for four years will need to have at least 51 percent ownership for a company to be eligible for a license, a clause that will remain in effect until June 2021.  That’s actually a more relaxed version of the originally proposed policy, which caused uproar from the state’s largest medical cannabis business Wellness Connection of Maine.  The law establishes other restrictions on those eligible for a marijuana sales license in the state; those who have lost a marijuana license in any part of the US, and those who have been convicted of a felony related to a drug besides cannabis in the last decade are out of luck. Jurisdictions will be allowed to opt out of the green rush. In fact, only 15 of Maine’s 455 municipalities have so far expressed interest in stepping up recreational sales systems. The bill’s regulations also stipulate extensive security guidelines for retail location and acceptable marijuana dispensary business hours — from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., open to certain exceptions. Of course, it would be a misnomer to claim that the governor had single handedly legalized marijuana in the state by signing into effect. That honor would more accurately go to the Maine electorate, who voted by a very slim margin back in 2016 to legalize recreational cannabis.  But the road to legal weed sales in Maine hit many snags. In 2017, Republican governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have provided for cannabis sales by November of that year. His reasoning? Saving the youth, of course. “Sending a message, especially to our young people, that some drugs that are still illegal under federal law are now sanctioned by the state may have unintended and ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-28
  • Texas County Prosecutors Dismiss Hundreds of Marijuana Misdemeanors
    Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that will legalize industrial hemp and CBD products. Now, some county prosecutors are grappling with the fallout with the new law—namely, what to do with more than 200 pot-related offenses. The district attorney’s office in Tarrant County, Texas has dismissed 235 marijuana misdemeanors that have been filed since June 10, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Those misdemeanors now require lab tests. But there’s one massive dilemma: under the new law, most labs in the state are unable to differentiate between marijuana, hemp and hemp-related products. The new law in Texas, signed by Abott on June 10 and went into effect immediately, allows farmers in the state to cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, while also clarifying which CBD products are legal. The signing of the law came on the heels of Congress’ passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December, which removed a huge obstacle for states by making hemp legal on the federal level. But both the federal law and the new state law in Texas complicated longstanding legal definitions of what constituted marijuana and hemp. Under the new laws, the concentration of THC would be the chief factor distinguishing the two. In testimony before the Houston Forensic Science Board earlier this month, James Miller, a seized drug analyst, said the new laws — which define hemp as containing less than .3% THC and marijuana as anything above that threshold — “caught a lot of us by surprise.” In order to conduct the necessary testing, Miller said, laws will require additional equipment. As such, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that a “lab report in our estimation is now a requirement of the crime because it’s the only way you can tell legal from illegal.” Most of the dismissed cases, according to Wilson, were for possession of two ounces or less of marijuana.  Those tests “could be quite expensive because it’s rare,” Wilson said, adding that her office is close to finding a viable lab. “We think we found two,” Wilson said. “I’ll be communicating with our police agencies about what those labs are so that they can get that needed lab result and refile the case.” The bill to legalize industrial hemp drew bipartisan support in the Texas state legislature, with both Democrats and Republicans alike applauding what they said could be a boon for local farmers. Sid Miller, the state’s agriculture commissioner, said that “Texas will be a leader in hemp production.” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-28
  • Bid For Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Launched in Idaho
    Cannabis activists in Idaho have launched a bid to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the state and will soon be collecting signatures to put a voter initiative on the ballot for the 2020 election. The legalization initiative was filed with the Idaho Secretary of State on Tuesday by members of the Idaho Cannabis Coalition. Once the initiative has been reviewed by the Secretary of State, activists will have until the end of April to gather the more than 55,000 signatures necessary for the initiative to qualify for the 2020 ballot. If the initiative is successful, patients with a qualifying serious medical condition would be allowed to possess up to four ounces of cannabis for medicinal use. It would also establish a system to regulate the production and sale of medical marijuana and protect medicinal cannabis users from discrimination in employment, housing, and education. “It’s a pretty carefully thought-out regulatory system both for patients and providers,” said James Piotrowski, an attorney representing the initiative effort. Patients Campaign for MMJ John Belville of the Idaho Cannabis Coalition has a chronic condition known as peripheral neuropathy that causes severe pain. His doctors prescribed strong narcotics that were not only ineffective but harmful to his health. Belville learned that medical marijuana could bring him relief while he was visiting neighboring Oregon, where cannabis is legal. I took this little eye dropper and put it under my tongue and waited about 15 minutes and the pain went away,” Belville said about his initial experience with cannabis oil. “Now, I don’t know what anyone thinks about anything else but I’ll tell you right now this stuff works.” Cannabis activist Serra Frank of the Group Legalize Idaho said that it is time to catch up with surrounding states, most of which have already legalized cannabis in some form. “The Idaho Cannabis Coalition’s long-awaited petition provides real hope to the sick and disabled citizens of Idaho,” Frank told High Times in an email. “We have watched anxiously from our little Island of Prohibition, as the rest of the country changes their laws to catch up to common sense.” Frank, who left Idaho for Oregon so she could use medical marijuana legally, will be able to return home if the initiative succeeds. “We’ve been waiting for so long to have a chance to use this natural medicine without risking persecution, prosecution, incarceration, and the destruction of our families,” she said. “We finally see a light in the darkness – a chance to be ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Abercrombie & Fitch To Sell CBD Products at Over 160 Locations
    It would have been impossible to guess, in the glory days of clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, that the company would one day be relying on cannabinoids to up its business forecast. But with shares down 20 percent this year, the mall staple is casting around for new ideas. Here’s the latest; soon customers at 160 of the national chain’s store locations will be able to buy CBD-infused beauty products.  Earlier this year, A&F — which also owns the Abercrombie Kids and Hollister clothing retail chains— announced plans to close flagship locations in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, Hong Kong, and Copenhagen. The brand, originally founded in 1892 to supply rich outdoors enthusiasts with gear, has been battling slow sales, and continues to look for its footing after chief executive Mike Jeffries left in 2014.  What weed goodies will you be able to buy at the preppy shopping center fashion mecca? A&F is partnering with Ohio-born Green Growth Brands and will be hawking its Seventh Sense line of wares, from lip balms to exfoliating body scrubs. GGB already sells the products — including muscle balms and foot creams — in 100 DSW shoe store locations and at Neiman Marcus.  For its part, Green Growth Brands sees the new project as an expansion opportunity. “Abercrombie & Fitch understands how to connect with their target-customer … across the globe,” Green Growth Brands CEO Peter Horvath said. “They have incredible brand recognition in our current target markets and beyond.” The recent announcement is not the first time the GGB and A&F brands have linked. In May, 10 stores sold GGB products during a retail test run. Customers at locations in Colorado and Nevada, among other states, were privy to this initial rollout.  Walgreens, Urban Outfitters, CVS, and Rite Aid are among the other big name brands that have chosen to stock CBD products. Other corporations have announced that they are investing or investigating the possibilities of the cannabinoid, such as Walmart. CBD has been the subject of much capitalistic endeavor over the past year, and recent figures released by BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research estimated that its industry would grow past $20 billion by the year 2024. Companies have inserted the cannabinoid into a vast spectrum of products, from beer to dietary supplements to Martha Stewart’s announced line of CBD pet products. This expansion has not gone without its challenges. Last year, a San Francisco brewery was forced to halt production on its line of CBD brews, and the New York City ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Snoop Dogg Draws Wrath of English Soccer Fans Over Pro-Weed Meme
    Musician and cannabis enthusiast Snoop Dogg is facing an online backlash over a social media post designed to highlight the disparate dangers between marijuana and alcohol.  Pot advocates have long touted its safety relative to booze and other drugs, of course, but Snoop ran afoul by using a legendary but troubled former English soccer player to illustrate that comparison. The meme posted Wednesday on Snoop Dogg’s Instagram account showed four photos: two of the iconic West Coast rapper and two of Paul Gascogine, a decorated soccer player who starred for the England national team and clubs like Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur in the 1980s and 1990s.  The two photos of Gascogine, placed under a caption that read “Alcohol Abuse,” show him at age 20 and 47 with clear signs of physical deterioration evident. Under the caption “Marijuana Abuse” are a pair of photos of Snoop at the same two ages with no major differences in his appearance. 
    View this post on Instagram A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Jun 26, 2019 at 2:14pm PDT As brilliant as he was as a player, Gascoigne’s life has been equally turbulent off the field. He entered therapy in the late 1990s, while still a player, to treat his alcoholism—the first of several stints in treatment. He has struggled to maintain his sobriety since then. In 2008, Gascoigne was rushed to the hospital after an apparent drug overdose. He was arrested for drunk driving in 2010 after getting behind the wheel while more than four times over the legal limit, for which he was warned that he could face jail time. A day after that court appearance, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.  In addition to his substance abuse, Gascoigne has also battled mental illness, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the early 2000s.  That tumultuous history prompted many to decry Snoop Dogg’s post and express sympathy for Gascogine, who is known to English soccer fans as “Gazza.”   “This has much more to do with mental health than abuse,” said one Instagram commenter. “It’s actually quite sad you’re using him as a scapegoat.” The British broadcaster Piers Morgan also came to Gascogine’s defense.  “This is nasty,” Morgan tweeted Thursday. “Shame on you @SnoopDogg.” Gascoigne appeared to express his gratitude for the solidarity in a Twitter post of his own on Thursday that included a photo of himself ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Ireland Greenlights Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
    Ireland on Wednesday launched a scheme that will allow its citizens to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Simon Harris, the country’s health minister, signed legislation that establishes a program to give patients access to marijuana for treatment purposes. “The Medical Cannabis Access Programme” will be maintained for five years until 2024, at which time it will undergo a review. Previously, medical marijuana was available only to select patients in the country. Recreational marijuana remains illegal there. Ireland is just the latest European country to greenlight medical marijuana, as more and more governments across the continent reconsider anti-pot laws. In February, the European Union passed a resolution encouraging member states to ease restrictions on medical marijuana. Portugal approved a measure legalizing medical marijuana earlier this month, while Italy, Germany, and Great Britain have enacted similar laws. On Wednesday, the Swiss government announced plans to make it easier for patients to get prescriptions for medicinal cannabis. In Ireland, the effort has been marked by a series of fits and starts. Harris proposed the program two years ago, but its ultimate enactment was delayed by an inability to find a supplier that could export the products into the country. That hurdle was finally cleared earlier this month, allowing Harris to turn the program into a reality on Wednesday. The program will allow medical cannabis treatment for patients suffering from various conditions associated with multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy and epilepsy—as long as those patients have failed to respond to more conventional treatments. The legislation comes a month after a group of doctors, calling themselves the “Cannabis Risk Alliance,” penned an open letter voicing their concerns about the effects of marijuana. In the letter, which was among others signed by Dr. Ray Walley, the former president of the Irish Medical Organisation, the doctors lamented what they called a “one-sided discussion about cannabis.”  “Most of the people taking part in these discussions are sincere and well-intentioned,” they wrote in the letter. “However, as doctors, we are concerned that Ireland is being led down the path of cannabis legalisation. We are opposed to such a move as we strongly feel that it would be bad for Ireland, especially for the mental and physical health of our young people.” On Wednesday, Harris seemed to address those concerns, saying that, “It is important to state that there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country,” as quoted by the Irish Post.  “The purpose of this programme is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-27
  • Canadian Company Exports Medicinal Cannabis Oil to UK
    Canadian firm Tilray, Inc. has exported its first bulk shipment of medicinal cannabis oil to the United Kingdom, according to a press release from the company. The shipment comes after a controversy over another Tilray product led the U.K. government to approve the use of medical cannabis therapies for some seriously ill patients. The medicine exported to the UK is an oral solution with both THC and CBD as active ingredients. The medication is used to treat pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis-associated spasticity. Tilray produces the cannabis oil in Canada at a Good Manufacuting Practices (GMP) certified facility and has already completed bulk shipments of the drug to other European nations including Germany, Croatia, Cyprus, and Malta. Catherine Jacobson, Tilray’s vice president of medical and regulatory affairs, said that importing the cannabis oil into the U.K. will create a more reliable and accessible source of medicine for patients. “This bulk import of Tilray medical cannabis oral solutions provides patients in need access to a sustained supply of GMP-certified, high quality medical cannabis,” said Jacobson. “This is an important step in improving access in the U.K. Tilray will continue to advocate for reasonable patient access to medical cannabis in the U.K. and countries around the world.” “This allows us to hold a reliable supply in the U.K. so we can avoid having to import on a per-patient basis, shortening the amount of time from prescription to the patient getting the product,” Jacobson added. “If access is too difficult patients will just go to the black market,” she said. “We’ve seen that happen and it’s really dangerous for patients.” Mum’s Advocacy Leads to Legalization of Medical Cannabis in the UK Tilray’s medicinal cannabis products were thrust into the international spotlight last year when another product made by the company was confiscated by customs officials at Heathrow Airport from Charlotte Caldwell. She had traveled to Canada to obtain the medicine for her severely epileptic son Billy, who had been receiving it under a special prescription from the National Health Service. But when Britain’s Home Office ended those prescriptions in May 2018, Charlotte was left without a source of an effective medication for the 12-year–old boy. After missing just one dose of the cannabis medicine, Billy suffered an epileptic seizure and was soon hospitalized. A public outcry augmented by pleas from celebrities caused the government to relent, and Billy’s medicine was returned. The controversy led to a reassessment of the U.K. policy on medical cannabis and in November, the government ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • Swiss Lawmakers Pushing for Medical Cannabis Law Reform
    Patients in Switzerland can currently get a prescription for medical cannabis, but it isn’t easy. The Swiss government wants to change that, laying out a proposal on Wednesday that would eliminate a major barrier for those with cancer and other serious diagnoses to use cannabis to treat their illness.  The proposal would mark a significant change to how Switzerland currently handles medicinal cannabis. Under the present system, patients who would like to use cannabis for treatment are required to apply for an exception with the Federal Health Office; the proposal would allow physicians to directly prescribe marijuana to patients. A number of countries in Europe have recently legalized medical cannabis. Lawmakers in Portugal approved such a measure earlier this month, while Great Britain did the same last summer. In the U.S., 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical cannabis. Still, medical marijuana has been made available to a number of Swiss patients. The government there granted 3,000 exceptions for those seeking the treatment in 2018. In a statement, the Swiss cabinet said that, along with empowering doctors to dole out such prescriptions to patients directly, the proposal would also allow for “[g]rowing and processing medical cannabis as well as its sale” under a system regulated by Swissmedic, a regulatory agency.  There are, however, some remaining kinks to iron out that could stall the proposal’s implementation. The Swiss government said that determining how insurers will be reimbursed will be handled separately from the proposal. And the “biggest obstacle to automatic reimbursement,” according to the government, “is that the scientific evidence of efficacy is not yet sufficient and the conclusions of existing studies are sometimes contradictory.” Such is a recurring dilemma for advocates of both recreational and medicinal marijuana, as legalization efforts have outpaced the amount of credible research into pot’s effects. It’s what prompted a major investor in Canada’s cannabis industry to donate $9 million to both Harvard and MIT to research the effects of marijuana on the brain and behavior. And it’s what’s driven the National Football League, long hostile to marijuana use among its players, to launch a study on the efficacy of medical cannabis as a treatment for pain.  To that end, the Swiss government said that it will launch a study into whether marijuana is indeed an effective remedy. Cannabis has long been used by patients with cancer as a way to relieve pain and bolster appetite, among other benefits. But Swiss residents may ultimately not even need a ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • San Francisco City Officials Vote to Ban Sales of E-Cigarettes
    Concerned over e-cigarettes’ health risk to residents, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to become the first major United States city to ban the sale of the products. The prohibition applies to both in-store sales and delivery of e-cigarettes to city addresses. It will take effect at the beginning of next year.  The ban, which follows voters’ decision last year to prohibit sales of fruit- and dessert-flavored tobacco products, is not meant to be permanent, but rather to put restrictions on the vape pens while they are being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. One caveat — the federal agency’s findings are not due to come out until 2022.  Supervisors are underplussed by any economic duress this may put on e-cig companies.  “Companies like Juul have had three years to submit their product and marketing to the FDA,” says Supervisor Shamann Walton, who co-sponsored the regulation. “The question is, why haven’t they? And the answer is because they want to protect their profits to continue targeting and harming our young people and they know nicotine is not healthy.” Ironically, the company that makes popular Juul e-cigs (“the hottest name in addiction technology,” according to a Gizmodo headline) is also based in the city. Juul Labs Inc., perhaps afraid of the ban catching on in other municipalities, has announced that it will gather signatures to get a measure on ballots that, if successful, would overturn the Board’s decision.  And not only that — legal experts say the language on the bill to which Juul has pledged $500,000 to promote would prevent the city from regulating e-cigarettes in the future.  “This is not a new tactic or an unexpected one,” said attorney Derek Carr of Oakland health equity non-profit ChangeLab Solutions. “It’s really not the role of the tobacco industry to be telling us what’s good for our health and writing our public health laws.” The company will need to collect 9,485 signatures by July 8 to get the ballot measure on the November ballot. In 2018, tobacco corporation R.J. Reynolds spent $12 million on fighting a proposed ballot measure ban on flavored tobacco products. There is certainly cause for alarm over the massive amounts of money that are being pumped into the vaping industry. Studies have shown that Juul marketed early ads to the teen market, and more recently Vice Media was exposed while planning a vaping ad campaign targeted at its youthful audience. In 2018 the US Surgeon General warned of an “e-cigarette epidemic” taking ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • Wiz Khalifa Launches KKE Cannabis Oils in Canada
    Hip-hop icon and weed aficionado Wiz Khalifa announced on Tuesday that he will be releasing a line of Khalifa Kush Enterprises cannabis oils in Canada. The new products will be produced under a partnership between Khalifa, Khalifa Kush Enterprises Canada, and Supreme Cannabis. “I’m excited to bring our first products to Canada and launch KKE Oils,” Khalifa said in a press release. “They are an awesome, high-in-THC product that everyone will love. This is a legendary moment that will be followed by many more game changing releases KKE will launch with Supreme Cannabis over the next year.” Products Target Adult-Use Market The new line of products are a “recreational focused oil, developed for the consumer who wants the convenience, high THC potency and precise dosing offered by a cannabis oil,” the company said. The debut offering of KKE Cannabis Oils will be produced from flower of the Sensi Star strain cultivated by Supreme Cannabis subsidiary 7 Acres at its indoor facility in Kincardine, Ontario. John Fowler, the founder of Supreme Cannabis, said that exceptional cannabis products depend on exceptional plants. “We firmly believe that a high-quality input supports high-quality output and KKE Oil embodies this belief,” Fowler said. “We are excited to launch one of the first recreational focused cannabis oils in Canada with Wiz Khalifa and the KKE team. KKE Oils are easy to consume, effective, and deliver the aromatic terpene profile 7ACRES’ Sensi Star is known for.” KKE Sensi Star oils will be available for purchase later this week in British Columbia and Ontario and in Alberta in early July. The company’s products will begin distribution in other Canadian provinces later in the year. New products from other 7 Acres strains will also launch throughout 2019. “We can’t wait to launch the full suite of KKE products, including KKE Jean Guy Oil, later this year,” said Fowler. Partnership Announced Last Year Khalifa announced the partnership between KKE and Supreme Cannabis in December 2018, noting that it was the first time the company was extending its reach beyond the United States, where the firm was founded earlier that year. “Canada is a very important place to me with the idea for ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ being created in Toronto, it’s the perfect start for the international expansion of Khalifa Kush,” he said. “My team and I have spent the past year finding a partner that shares our vision, values and passion for cannabis. The team at Supreme Cannabis understands the importance of high quality cannabis and how ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-26
  • Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
    Two men, one of whom is a Baltimore mail carrier, have pleaded guilty to smuggling marijuana into the city through the U.S. Postal Service. Both men face decades in federal prison as punishment for their convictions, according to a report in local media. Michael Gray pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana this week and could spend up to 20 years in prison for his role in the smuggling operation. William McRae, an employee of the Postal Service, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and faces incarceration of up to 40 years. Investigators discovered that since early 2017, more than 200 packages deemed to be suspicious had all been shipped from California to the 21223 ZIP code in Baltimore. The parcels had all been sent to addresses that were on McRae’s carrier route, according to court documents. On November 17, 2017, investigators learned that eight Priority Mail packages were on their way to the same Baltimore address at 1100 Hollins Street. Three of the parcels were intercepted en route and each was found to contain approximately one kilogram of a green plant material that tested positive for marijuana. Suspicious Packages Lead to Surveillance of Mail Carrier In early January 2018, investigators discovered that two more packages, each weighing 10 pounds, were being shipped to the same Baltimore address from California. McRae’s mail route was then put under surveillance by investigators, who saw McRae park his USPS vehicle on the street before being met by another man later identified as Gray, who arrived in a silver Volvo and parked behind the mail carrier. Investigators watched as McRae handed a package to Gray. USPS records revealed that he had scanned one of the suspicious packages as being delivered at the time and location of the meeting with Gray. The second package was never delivered to Baltimore, according to Postal Service data. Later in January, postal investigators learned that seven more packages, six weighing about 20 pounds and the last about two pounds, were on the way to the same Baltimore address. Two of the packages were intercepted and a search warrant was obtained by investigators. The packages were then opened and one was found to contain 1,005 grams of cannabis, while the other had 6,750 grams of marijuana. In November 2018, five more parcels were intercepted. A search warrant was obtained for one of the packages and investigators found 2,160 grams of marijuana. The parcel was then repackaged and allowed ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-06-25