• Canadian Cannabis Industry Execs Warn Weed Shortage Could Last Three Years
    Canadian cannabis industry executives are warning that product shortages in the country could take as long as three years to alleviate. Some insiders believe that cannabis production estimates are too optimistic, according to a report from Bloomberg. Since the sale and use of recreational marijuana were legalized in October, product shortages have led some cannabis retailers to reduce hours or limit purchases. In Alberta, regulators originally estimated that up to 250 cannabis stores could be operating in the province by the end of this year. But product shortages caused the province to place a moratorium on issuing licenses in November. As a result, Alberta has only 65 cannabis retailers, with 20 of those located in the city of Calgary. Chuck Rifici, chief executive officer of Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. in Toronto, said that the challenges of expanding cannabis production have made it difficult to meet the demands of the newly legal recreational cannabis market. “There’s a lot of execution risk, people are expanding by 10, 20 times,” Rifici said. “Personally, I think we’re at least three years out from hitting real equilibrium.” “Ultimately any manufacturing facility growing 20 times is likely to face delays,” he added. Greg Engel, CEO of Organigram Holdings believes that it will take “a couple years” for supply to catch up with demand. And Everett Knight, the executive vice president for strategy and investments at Valens Groworks, said it could be two to three years. He said that some cultivators do not accurately predict production losses due to issues such as mold. “It’s harder to grow cannabis than most people think,” Knight said. However, Raj Grover, the CEO of cannabis retailer High Tide, said that supply problems are improving“on a monthly and weekly basis.” “Our stores in Alberta are fully stocked. They’re generating great revenue,” Grover said. “I think Ontario’s decision to just open 25 stores is too much of an overstatement, they’re overthinking this a little bit.” Government Predicts ‘Sufficient Supply’ Tammy Jarbeau, a spokeswoman for Health Canada said in a statement in November that some product shortages could be expected. “As with any new industry where there is considerable consumer demand, we expect there may be periods where inventories of some products run low or, in some cases, run out,” said Jarbeau. “Health Canada remains confident that there is sufficient supply of cannabis overall to meet market demand now and into the future.” But she added that shortages were not expected to be prolonged or widespread. “As the overall supply chain gains experience in the Canadian marketplace, it is expected that such localized ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-09
  • New Mexico’s Pot Legalization Proposal Includes Workplace Protections
    A bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in New Mexico includes workplace protections for employees that use pot while off the job. The bill by Albuquerque Democrats Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Rep. Javier Martinez is expected to be introduced in the legislature later this month, according to media reports. The bill that legalized medical marijuana in New Mexico in 2007 did not address the issue of employees using cannabis while not working. Consequently, some patients have been fired after testing positive for cannabis use in workplace drug tests. Those that have challenged their termination in court have not been successful. Many states with legal medical marijuana, including Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island have workplace protections for patients. Albuquerque attorney Jason Bowles believes that his state should follow suit. “There are no protections right now in New Mexico for workers who use medical marijuana legally,” Bowles said. Provisions in a draft of the legalization bill make it illegal to take adverse action against employees for a positive drug test for cannabis or for legal conduct outside of the workplace. Workers would not be protected if employers could show “by a preponderance of evidence that an employee’s lawful use of cannabis has impaired the ability to perform the employee’s job.” The bill would not protect employees who use or possess cannabis at work. Some exceptions for businesses and schools for action taken to comply with federal law are also included in the working draft of the bill. Broad Legalization Measure The bill by Ortiz y Pino and Martinez is a broad cannabis legalization measure that would permit the use and sale of recreational marijuana. The measure would allow the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants and establish a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales. Local jurisdictions would be required to decide whether to allow cannabis dispensaries through elections. In addition to the employee provisions, tenants, parents, and students would be protected from sanctions for using cannabis either recreationally or medicinally. Vermont is the only state that has legalized the recreational use of cannabis through action by the legislature. All other states that have legalized the adult use of pot have done so through the citizen initiative process. Despite polls that show support for cannabis legalization in New Mexico, Ortiz y Pino believes it may be difficult to get the bill passed by the legislature. “It’s going to be tough,” said Ortiz y Pino. “The House will probably vote for it. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Kamala Harris Advocates “Dismantling Failed War on Drugs” in New Book
    The cavalcade of 2020 presidential hopefuls pulling for marijuana legalization is getting larger. California senator Kamala Harris reinforced her sympathies with the weed community on Tuesday with the release of her new book The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. In it, she calls for regulation of cannabis, and more intensive research into the drug’s effects. “Something else it’s past time we get done is dismantling the failed war on drugs—starting with marijuana,” writes Harris in an excerpt you can find on Google Books. Primary among the senator’s reasoning is the War on Drugs’ blatant racism. She cites the fact that at the beginning of 2018, 93 percent of all cannabis possession arrests made by the NYPD were of people of color. “These racial disparities are staggering and unconscionable,” Harris says. “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it.” None of this is to say that Harris has come out as cannabis industry booster, per se. The candidate is careful to acknowledge that there is much we don’t know about the science of cannabis, particularly in relation to the way it affects our bodies. But that lack of scientific evidence, she argues, is no reason to continue prohibition. Indeed, marijuana’s current federal classification as a Schedule I drug (having no accepted medical use) has brutally handicapped researchers hoping to conduct clinical studies on its effects. “That means committing ourselves to doing the research, listening to what the science tells us, and acting on that information in our approach,” Harris concludes. Like many of her peers, Harris’ thoughts on cannabis legalization have undergone a distinct evolution. In 2014, news cameras caught the then-attorney general laughing off the issue of legalizing cannabis in California, saying simply of the pro-legalization stance taken by her Republican challenger for her position, “He’s entitled to his opinion.” In May of last year, she officially reversed this seemingly credulous outlook, announcing her support for Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act.
    Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do. Today, I’m announcing my support for @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Act. pic.twitter.com/cOh3SjMaOW — Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 10, 2018 But the political winds have shifted. California did, in fact, legalize adult use cannabis–as have many states across the country. And now it is nearly anathema for Democratic leaders to take a jocular attitude towards the future of federal cannabis law. Last week, Jay Inslee, the Washington State governor and potential 2020 White House candidate, announced ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Popular Canadian Pharmacy Chain Officially Starts Carrying Medical Cannabis
    Things just got more convenient for medical cannabis patients in Ontario. On Tuesday, the popular pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart launched its online retail portal for medical cannabis products. Shoppers is a national chain, but for now it will only supply Ontario residents. Licensed patients will have to submit some paperwork in order to access the online store. Retail cannabis consumers, however, cannot make purchases, but they are able to browse the store’s offerings. Shoppers Drug Mart Just Started Selling Medical Cannabis Online Health Canada regulates and oversees Canada’s medical cannabis program. And under the agency’s rules, there’s only one legal mode of distribution for medical cannabis products: mail orders that go directly from licensed producers to patients. As a retail pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart is not a medical cannabis producer. It did however obtain a license from Health Canada to be one. It had to, in order to be able to sell to licensed patients in the first place. But instead of producing its own cannabis, Shoppers says it has lined up supply agreements with 10 licensed producers. Shoppers obtained its own producer license in September 2018, nearly two years after submitting the initial application. On December 8, 2018, Health Canada licensed the company to sell medical cannabis products as well as accessories, like vape pens, online. Specifically, Shoppers can sell dried and fresh cannabis, seeds, plants and oils. Ontario’s adult-use retailers, by contrast, cannot sell oils or concentrates. Canada hopes to add regulations allowing the retail sale of cannabis concentrates later this year. Shoppers is also following other Health Canada requirements for sellers. All customers are required to submit information they receive from the doctor who issued their cannabis prescription along with their Health Canada license information, before they can place an order. Once a patient begins the process by submitting their documentation, an advisor contacts them to review their medical history, help them register online and make product recommendations. For Buyers, Shopper’s Drug Mart Has a Better Website Than the OCS Since adult-use legalization took effect in Canada on October 17, Ontario’s retail cannabis sector has been beset with problems. Incorrect and missing orders, privacy breaches, quality control issues and other mishaps have damaged the Ontario Cannabis Store’s reputation with customers. Some have even returned to their unlicensed suppliers. Unlike other provinces where customers can walk into a weed shop and make a purchase, Ontario is restricting adult-use cannabis retail to the OCS’s online store. And while it appears some of the major issues have been ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • FDA Officials Seize CBD Edibles From Arizona Smoke Shop
    Officials who claimed to be from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seized CBD edibles from an Arizona smoke shop last week, according to media reports. David Murray of the Neverlow Glass Gallery in Yuma said that just after the store opened on January 3, three people who identified themselves as officials from the FDA came to the shop and confiscated CBD products from the store shelves. Murray said the FDA officials from “another enforcement unit” came with the FDA officials, although he could not remember which agency they were from. “They came in this morning and they took eight chocolate bars, 14 packs of gummies, and 23 K-cups,” said Murray. The business owner said that the officials flashed badges and identification cards but did not show a warrant and did not leave a receipt for the items that they had taken. “It wasn’t much,” Murray said. “They said they were going to send me paperwork within seven to 10 business days or I was going to get my product back.” He also said that the FDA officials told him that CBD products were required to be labeled “as a pet product,” he said, along with the words, “if consumed by a human, there’s no concern.” The officials also told him that the FDA was “making their own regulations for [hemp].” Murray said that four days earlier, FDA officials had come to the shop asking which products were edible and intended for human consumption. Murray then showed them the coffee, gummies, and chocolate. The officials left and Murray did not know that they had planned to return. Similar Activity at Different Arizona Store Chris Martin operates Hempful Farms, the manufacturer of the coffee and chocolate confiscated at the Neverglow Glass Gallery. Although he hadn’t heard of any other products being seized, he said that his store in Phoenix was visited by three “jarhead-looking guys, straight outta military,” also on Thursday. The men refused to identify themselves and asked strange questions while they were at the shop. “You take this and put this in your mouth?” Martin remembers one of them asking. “Patients don’t do that. People who are just looking for help don’t do that stuff,” he said. Murray said that he does not know what he is going to do next. He is waiting for the paperwork from the FDA or the return of his merchandise. In the meantime, he still has CBD products to sell if he so chooses. Only the CBD edibles on store shelves were taken, even though Murray ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • NYC Mayor Intends to Prevent Cannabis Corporatization if Legalization Succeeds
    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a cannabis industry fueled by small businesses if legalization efforts in the state succeed. Speaking before a Brooklyn audience last week, the mayor said that in addition to the health and safety issues involved with legal pot, he is concerned about the potential influence of big business on New Yorkers and the emerging market. “My goal is that we avoid the corporatization of the marijuana industry,” de Blasio said. Referring to two state legislators in the crowd, the mayor said that they and other lawmakers could create a legal cannabis industry built on small operators. “We have a chance and these two folks and their colleagues have in their hands a chance, to do something that’s never been done before, to literally exclude corporate America and make sure this is a small business community-based industry,” de Blasio said. He also said that a legalization plan should include social equity provisions to ensure that “the opportunity first and foremost goes to communities that are victimized and individuals who are victimized, right down to people having an opportunity to start businesses and get jobs who served time who should have never served time to begin with.” Mayor’s Task Force Calls for Legalization Last month, the Mayor’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization released the reportA Fair Approach to Marijuana,” suggesting a plan for the legalization of marijuana in New York. In a letter of introduction for the report, de Blasio compared cannabis to other products now controlled by corporate interests. “We’ve seen these kinds of new industries spring up before. Legalization can follow two routes. In one, corporate Cannabis rushes in and seizes a big, new market, driven by a single motive: greed. In another, New Yorkers build their own local cannabis industry, led by small businesses and organized to benefit our whole diverse community,” de Blasio wrote. “Tragically, we know what happens when corporations run the show,” he added. “For decades, Big Tobacco knew its product was both deadly and addictive. But it denied, obscured, advertised, and lobbied its way into America’s homes, targeting children,” the mayor continues. “For decades, Big Oil knew its product was choking the human race on the only planet we have. Yet, it did its level best to create an economy based on fossil fuels. More recently, Big Pharma peddled opioids as a safe, non-addictive cure for pain. Now, Americans are crushed by a plague of overdose deaths. We can’t let cannabis follow that course.” New York ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Missouri Coffee Company Launching CBD-Infused Canned Cold Brew
    The United States’ thriving obsession with CBD-infused coffee products has resulted in another product launch, this time in the American heartland. The Roasterie, a Kansas City company, announced on Monday that it is retailing a canned cold brew with 10 milligrams of CBD. Does this news have you abuzz? Those who are interested and located in the general vicinity of Missouri can pick up the drink at Kansas City CBD store chain American Shaman — the drink is a Roasterie-American Shaman collaboration — and the Roasterie Factory Cafe, for $5 a can, alongside the company’s pre-existing line of canned cold brews. In November, Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, a medical marijuana initiative that will allow cannabis patients to cultivate the plant at home, and buy up to four ounces of cannabis a month. Industrial hemp products have been legal for purchase in Missouri since state legislators passed an initiative in May of 2018. Low-THC products have been legal for consumption by certain patients in the state since the passage of 2014’s HB 2238. Missouri cannabis advocates cheered when Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker made it known that her office was deprioritizing marijuana possession cases shortly after the passage of November’s medical marijuana voter’s initiative. “That mandate from voters is directing this shift in our office,” Baker said. “This changing attitude toward marijuana is something we have been seeing anecdotally from our juries for some time.” Fans of CBD cups of joe can already find made-to-order cups in cafes across the United States. Portland, New York City, and Milwaukee are all cities where such a delicacy may already be enjoyed. Caffeinated CBD isn’t just trending in the United States. In Waterford City, Ireland, Blooms Cafe hawks cannabis flower and CBD-infused brews under the country’s legal limit of 0.2 percent THC. The global coffee-marijuana connection runs deep—this fall, Canada’s Second Cup Coffee has also announced plans to convert preexisting locations into cannabis dispensaries via a partnership with weed company National Access Corp. Though undeniably popular, the CBD coffee movement has not been without its detractors. To quote High Times’ own Jeremy Glass, it’s possible that upon consuming an infused brew, “You don’t feel relaxed, you don’t feel alert, you just feel like a hunk of fat in clothing.” Many have pointed out that the merger combines two substances with what may seem like contradictory effects, given CBD’s reputation as a relaxer. Nonetheless, those who love drinking their cannabis have a lot to look forward to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Alberta Health Services Just Refused a $6,000 Donation From Cannabis Club
    Alberta Health Services has reportedly refused to accept a $6,000 donation from a cannabis club that wished to honor one of its members. Patrick Parsons, a board member of the Calgary Cannabis Club, said that the group directed the donation to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in recognition of the excellent care it provided to Rick Beaver. The member of the club died of esophageal cancer at the age of 65 last November. “He was quite impressed with the empathy and compassion he received so we thought it was a no-brainer to us that the money raised go there,” said Parsons. “Rick was raving about how good the staff was.” Parsons said that the money had been raised at several charitable events including a fundraiser on December 9 that included live and silent auctions. However, when the group tried to make the donation, officials at Alberta Health Services (AHS) refused to accept the money. Parsons believes that the taboo against cannabis still exists, despite the legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana in Canada. “The stigma is still there—when you’re talking about dollars and cents, there’s probably the thought that the money’s from the illegal sale of cannabis but that’s not the case here at all,” he said. “The money was raised in a very thoughtful, legitimate manner.” Parsons said that he believes that much of the medical community still does not accept the medicinal value of cannabis. “Until they accept the research about the good it does, there’s a roadblock,” said Parsons. Parsons said that the donation was especially significant because Beaver had consumed cannabis at the center as part of his treatment. “He was one of the first people to use cannabis at the cancer center and have it documented, they had it on his chart,” said Parsons. Health Agency Responds AHS said in a statement that Health Canada and fundraising foundations are currently consulting about the issue of cannabis philanthropy. Until their work is completed later this year, the agency will be unable to accept cannabis-related donations. “Until the engagement is complete and a longer-term perspective on cannabis philanthropy has been determined, AHS will defer accepting any donations from the cannabis sector,” it stated. “AHS will update its foundation partners about progress of the engagement throughout 2019, and will also provide materials to support board discussions and decision-making related to cannabis.” The statement added that the AHS does not “direct what kind of gifts foundations may or may not accept.” Parsons said that the money raised by the Calgary Cannabis ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Oregon CBD Producers May Need Special License to Sell Products in Dispensaries
    For years, hemp CBD products have been held to vastly different legal and regulatory standards than cannabis. But new rules from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission seek to change that. The rules aren’t in place yet; regulators are still considering them. But the change would require industrial hemp growers and processors to obtain a special permit if they wish to sell their products in a licensed cannabis retail store. Growing CBD Demand Prompts Oregon Regulators to Consider New Rules Cannabidiol (CBD), the therapeutic yet non-psychoactive compound produced by cannabis plants, has become a nationwide health and wellness phenomenon. And the popularity of CBD has catapulted the United States’ hemp industry into the national spotlight. Last December, the 2018 Farm Bill took the extraordinary step of federally legalizing industrial hemp and all of its products (with less than 0.3 percent THC). Yet prior federal legislation had already cleared the way for states to legalize and regulate their own hemp industries. In Oregon, hemp regained its status as an agricultural commodity three years ago. Today, the state is one of the country’s centers of industrial hemp cultivation, along with Colorado and Kentucky. (Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has long-championed legalizing industrial hemp, and was the main proponent of this and previous Farm Bills’ pro-hemp legislation.) This year’s federal legalization of hemp paves the way for FDA approval and regulation of hemp products like CBD. But currently, most hemp CBD products are not subject to any regulatory oversight or standards. As these products rapidly grow in popularity, however, consumers are demanding more protections. Indeed, a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that less than a third of the 84 CBD oils, tinctures, and liquids tested contained as much CBD as the labels claimed. New Rules Might Drive CBD Products Out of Oregon’s Retail Cannabis Industry For growers and processors, though, additional OLCC requirements are more likely to drive products out of Oregon’s retail cannabis industry. Hemp producers in Oregon can easily sell CBD products online or in states that don’t require special licensing. Under the rules’ current iteration, producers could even sell CBD products at traditional retail shops in Oregon. The OLCC proposal would only require hemp companies to obtain a license to sell products in OLCC-licensed cannabis dispensaries. As a result, some growers are already planning to eschew cannabis retail licensing requirements, should they take effect, and take their business elsewhere. “Oregon isn’t our only market,” Big Top Farms owner Sykes Mitchell told The Bulletin. “I doubt ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Activists Reportedly Gathered 8,000 Signatures to Decriminalize Psilocybin in Denver
    Activists in Denver plan to submit more than 8,000 signatures to city officials on Monday in an effort to put a psilocybin decriminalization initiative on the ballot. Organizers with the group Decriminalize Denver will gather for a rally and news conference at 3:00 pm Monday on the steps of the Denver City and County Building, according to media reports. Monday is the deadline to submit petitions for initiatives to be included on the May 2019 ballot. At least 4,726 valid signatures from registered voters are needed for the Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative to qualify for this spring’s election. Kevin Matthews, the campaign director for the initiative, said that the measure is seeking a change in enforcement policy for psychedelic mushrooms. “We’re not legalizing here,” Matthews said. “Essentially, what we’re doing is keeping people out of prison for what is essentially a non-violent crime offense.” If the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative passes, it would make the possession, use, and propagation of psilocybin mushrooms for adults 21 and older the “city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.” The measure would “prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties” on those who possess or cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for personal use. The measure also creates a city “psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance.” Denver for Psilocybin began gathering signatures for the initiative effort in October. Matthews predicted success at the time. “I’m very optimistic we’re going to get the signatures,” he said. Medicinal Use of Mushrooms Shows Promise Tyler Williams of the group Denver for Psilocybin said last year that there are legitimate medical uses for psilocybin. “There’s a lot of research for all sorts of mental health issues. Everything from anxiety to depression to cluster headaches, addiction,” said Williams. “I had a suicide attempt November 12th of 2015 and I think it helped me get out of my depression, and it’s helped me with my PTSD,” Williams added. Kathy Hawkins is a licensed professional counselor who treats a few patients who use psilocybin therapeutically. While she doesn’t supervise these therapy sessions, she is available before and after to assist the patients. “So, I’m a place where they can come and talk about it. So they can make sure they’re being safe about how they’re using, what they’re using, why they’re using,” she said. Hawkins noted that a John Hopkins study showed that psilocybin could have a positive effect on cancer patients that lasted up to a year. “They’re so desperate for help, they’re willing to try. So they’ve had ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Skirting Italian Cannabis Law With EasyJoint
    LGC Capital, a Canadian investment firm focused on the global cannabis market, just bought 47 percent of EasyJoint, the biggest producer of what is known as “cannabis light” in Italy. “Cannabis light” is the term broadly used by Italians (and by national newspapers and media outlets) to refer to cannabis with THC levels below legal limits.  Classified as a “collector’s item” instead of a smoking product, EasyJoint was created by Luca Marola, a cannabis activist, author, and owner of one of the oldest Italian grow-shops, Canapaio Ducaleis. It’s distributed in 11 official EasyJoint stores and can also be found in over 300 retailers, including grow and herbalist stores, and pharmacies. Since the early days of prohibition, cannabis laws in Europe have remained a delicate topic. Each state of the Union handles cannabis in their own way—and Italy chose to lean 420 un-friendly. In 2006, the controversial Fini-Giovanardi Law 49/06 removed the distinction between hard and soft drugs. Until it was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2014, the possession of marijuana and hashish was punished as harshly as the possession of heroin or cocaine. But last year, following in the steps of Switzerland, the boot-shaped nation saw a shift in mentality regarding cannabis laws. Shutterstock At present, Italian law considers any cannabis flower with THC levels over 0.5 percent to be a narcotic substance. But since 2006, medical marijuana can be used if a doctor prescribes it, and only for the treatment of specific chronic diseases. EasyJoint plays with legal loopholes and relies on its extremely low THC levels (never above 0.2 percent) to stay legit. EasyJoint established the minimum quality standards and gave farmers financial references putting on a contract the ones whom could reach them,” Luca Fortin, an economist specialized in Drug Policy at the Sorbonne University in Paris, tells High Times. “These informations are key for a new market with a biannual productive cycle such as the outdoor production and the consequential increasing number of people involved in the market created a group focused exclusively on cannabis inflorescences. It has proven that this market not only is fresh, innovative and constantly growing at an international level but that it also can contribute to the development of the country in a significant way.”  Shutterstock At the European level, Fortin explains, EasyJoint gives resonance to a phenomenon that started in Switzerland. It shows that it’s possible to create a market around cannabis inflorescences at a community level, despite the commercialization of the flower lacking regulation. “The legitimacy of a cannabis ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Washington State Governor Announced Plan to Clear Marijuana Convictions
    Amid a flurry of rumors regarding his possible run for the White House in 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a limited program to pardon misdemeanor cannabis convictions stemming from 1998 to 2012. “We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal behavior in the state of Washington,” said Inslee on Friday morning at the annual Washington State Cannabis Summit, an event held by marijuana business interests. Since the beginning of December, Inslee has been under scrutiny. The media in Washington reported that he quietly formed a federal political action committee (PAC) and made personal phone calls to key donors in hopes of raising funds to travel to target states. Although he’s lesser-known than candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke, Inslee reportedly is banking on his stellar record of supporting environmental causes to win votes. Many 2020 candidates have expressed their support for widespread cannabis legalization. The governor’s office estimates that some 3,500 people will be eligible for the pardons. But they must be looked over individually by Inslee’s staff first. A senior policy advisor to the governor attributed his support of the program to his concern over sweeping racism within the justice system related to drug convictions. A study by the University of Washington’s Alexes Harris and Katherine Beckett found that in 2006, Seattle’s drug arrest rate for Black people was 13 times higher than that of the city’s white population. Biased arrest, conviction, and incarceration rates have been tied to family separation and housing instability among Washington’s communities of color. To apply for the new pardons, Washington residents can fill out a one-page form available on the governor’s website. Pardons are available only for convictions that were processed by Washington State law — no crimes relating to local ordinances are applicable. Should a pardon petition be successful, it will be wiped from publicly available criminal history reports, but will still be visible to law enforcement. A prior charge will remain in the files of a court that imposed the misdemeanor until the pardoned individual petitions that court directly. Last year, the City of Seattle took steps to expunge the records for around 542 people, an action that was spearheaded by City Attorney Pete Holmes. Those expungements affected convictions of cannabis possession between 1996 and 2010, when Holmes’ office stopped pursuing charges of marijuana possession. The governor’s staff says Inslee is also in favor of broader pardons that would remove misdemeanor cannabis convictions from any ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
  • Lawmakers Just Introduced The CARERS Act to Protect Medical Marijuana
    Lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would protect medical marijuana users in states with legal pot. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, and Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young are the sponsors of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act. If passed, the CARERS Act would amend federal law to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies. It would also permit doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans to treat serious and chronic conditions. Although it would not legalize cannabis at the federal level, it would respect the states’ decisions to legalize medical marijuana and would prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors, and caregivers in those states. The measure is similar to a bill of the same name that stalled in the last Congress. That bill received a host of bipartisan support from Cohen, Young, and Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in its Senate version. Federal Law Out of Sync with Public Opinion Cohen said in a statement that the bill reflects the opinion of a majority of Americans. “The national consensus on medical marijuana is solid and bipartisan, but our federal drug laws continue to treat patients and their doctors like criminals,” Cohen said. “Our bill would bring federal medical marijuana policy in line with the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans by allowing states to set their own marijuana laws, allowing patients, including veterans, to receive the treatments they need from their doctors and improving opportunities for research on marijuana.” Young said that he believes the bipartisan effort can serve as an example of what can be accomplished in the 116th Congress when legislators work together. “I’m hopeful that this is going to be a productive Congress regarding the debate over national cannabis policy,” said Young. “Important components such as protecting medical cannabis, access to CBD, expanding research opportunities, and allowing veterans access are provisions in the CARERS Act which I’m proud to cosponsor with Congressman Steve Cohen. This is the kind of bipartisan effort that doesn’t happen every day but should serve as an example of how we can solve the problems that our constituents have sent us here to do. I look forward to promoting this legislation and other measures to protect the rights of states and individuals.” Federal Marijuana Laws ‘Broken’ Booker said that it is time for a change in ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
  • How Concerned Should Canadian Cannabis Customers be About Privacy?
    Recreational cannabis has been legalized in Canada for a few months now, but the next time you slide through a recreational cannabis shop in the Six, you’d best come equipped with loonies and toonies instead of a credit card. In a recent statement issued by Daniel Therrien, Canada’s privacy commissioner, he urged cannabis sellers and buyers across the country to obtain a better understanding of their privacy rights. To keep the personal information of consumers safe, Therrien suggested that only cash should be used for pot-related transactions. Although recreational cannabis was officially legalized in Canada back in October 2018, the privacy watchdog warned that even lawful marijuana users can be banned from entering countries where cannabis remains illegal. “The OPC [Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada] recognizes the sensitive nature of cannabis-related transactions,” the statement reads. “Although cannabis is legal in Canada, it remains illegal in most jurisdictions outside of Canada. Some countries may, for example, deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully. In the past, there have been several reports of Canadians getting barred from entering the United States for admitting to cannabis use, even when attempting to cross into a state where adult-use legalization is already in effect, such as Washington state. Conversely, a few foreign countries have asked their own citizens not to smoke legal buds while vacationing in the Great White North. iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood Privacy Watchdog Issues Guidelines for Cannabis Sellers and Buyers   The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released a handful of guidelines for both cannabis sellers and buyers to follow. This document was created to help these parties understand the right to privacy and obligations under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This Canadian law effectively defines personal information as “information about an identifiable individual,” which can include potentially sensitive data like your name, date of birth, driver’s license number, social insurance number, financial information, and so on. To help protect legal cannabis consumers from having their personal information used against them, the privacy watchdog offered a number of recommendations to retailers and buyers. For instance, the OPC’s guidance states that cannabis shops should “obtain meaningful consent before collecting any personal information” and that they “should be clear on what information they are required to collect during in-person transactions.” However, there is little that cannabis retailers can do when a customer decides to use a credit card, as the seller could be required by ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
  • Another Racketeering Lawsuit Against Legal Cannabis Growers is Thrown Out
    Despite losing their battle in court, four Sonoma County residents who sued a local cannabis cultivator over odor say they’ve ultimately won their war against Carlos Zambrano and his Green Earth business partners. By the time U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar dismissed the four’s RICO lawsuit against Zambrano, he had already shut down his growing operations for six weeks. In fact, Zambrano and Green Earth aren’t saying whether they’ll even try to start things up again in Sonoma County. But Judge Tigar’s ruling, which throws out another racketeering lawsuit against a legal cannabis company, sets a crucial legal precedent that favors cannabis growers in California. RICO Dismissal Sets Important Legal Precedent for California’s Cultivation Industry The regulations governing California’s cannabis industry give significant authority to county and municipal governments to determine whether and how businesses set up shop in their jurisdictions. And while many California counties and cities have embraced the industry, others have taken extraordinary steps to ban it. Failing statutes and ordinances, the truly disgruntled have attempted to sue cannabis companies under federal law. And their weapon of choice has been the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970. In its time, the RICO Act was landmark legislation aimed at crippling organized crime. But in recent years, plaintiffs have attempted to use RICO law against state-licensed cannabis operations. Civil portions of the RICO Act allow plaintiffs to sue companies for losses and damages, for example. And the lawsuit brought against Zombaro and Green Earth by a law firm representing four Petaluma, California residents represents the first attempt to use RICO’s civil Chapters against a legal cannabis cultivator. That’s what makes Judge Tigar’s dismissal of their case so important. It sets a legal precedent that could help protect other California cultivators from civil legal action in the future. Cannabis Cultivators in CA Can Breathe a Little Easier About Smell Complaints Cannabis cultivation is undeniably an aromatic process. And controlling the smell is challenging, despite state regulators’ best attempts to write HVAC and other codes to deal with it. But for residents opposed to local cannabis businesses, keeping the air free of the floral, pungent scent is an inviolable right worth tremendous legal expense to protect. Or at least it was for the four Sonoma County residents who sued cannabis cultivator Carlos Zambrano over his operation’s “sickening cannabis odor” and loud noise. In court, attorney Kevin Block argued that Zambrano’s grow diminished the value and enjoyment of his clients’ properties. But in his lengthly ruling, Judge Jon Tigar ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
 
  • Canadian Cannabis Industry Execs Warn Weed Shortage Could Last Three Years
    Canadian cannabis industry executives are warning that product shortages in the country could take as long as three years to alleviate. Some insiders believe that cannabis production estimates are too optimistic, according to a report from Bloomberg. Since the sale and use of recreational marijuana were legalized in October, product shortages have led some cannabis retailers to reduce hours or limit purchases. In Alberta, regulators originally estimated that up to 250 cannabis stores could be operating in the province by the end of this year. But product shortages caused the province to place a moratorium on issuing licenses in November. As a result, Alberta has only 65 cannabis retailers, with 20 of those located in the city of Calgary. Chuck Rifici, chief executive officer of Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. in Toronto, said that the challenges of expanding cannabis production have made it difficult to meet the demands of the newly legal recreational cannabis market. “There’s a lot of execution risk, people are expanding by 10, 20 times,” Rifici said. “Personally, I think we’re at least three years out from hitting real equilibrium.” “Ultimately any manufacturing facility growing 20 times is likely to face delays,” he added. Greg Engel, CEO of Organigram Holdings believes that it will take “a couple years” for supply to catch up with demand. And Everett Knight, the executive vice president for strategy and investments at Valens Groworks, said it could be two to three years. He said that some cultivators do not accurately predict production losses due to issues such as mold. “It’s harder to grow cannabis than most people think,” Knight said. However, Raj Grover, the CEO of cannabis retailer High Tide, said that supply problems are improving“on a monthly and weekly basis.” “Our stores in Alberta are fully stocked. They’re generating great revenue,” Grover said. “I think Ontario’s decision to just open 25 stores is too much of an overstatement, they’re overthinking this a little bit.” Government Predicts ‘Sufficient Supply’ Tammy Jarbeau, a spokeswoman for Health Canada said in a statement in November that some product shortages could be expected. “As with any new industry where there is considerable consumer demand, we expect there may be periods where inventories of some products run low or, in some cases, run out,” said Jarbeau. “Health Canada remains confident that there is sufficient supply of cannabis overall to meet market demand now and into the future.” But she added that shortages were not expected to be prolonged or widespread. “As the overall supply chain gains experience in the Canadian marketplace, it is expected that such localized ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-09
  • New Mexico’s Pot Legalization Proposal Includes Workplace Protections
    A bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in New Mexico includes workplace protections for employees that use pot while off the job. The bill by Albuquerque Democrats Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Rep. Javier Martinez is expected to be introduced in the legislature later this month, according to media reports. The bill that legalized medical marijuana in New Mexico in 2007 did not address the issue of employees using cannabis while not working. Consequently, some patients have been fired after testing positive for cannabis use in workplace drug tests. Those that have challenged their termination in court have not been successful. Many states with legal medical marijuana, including Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island have workplace protections for patients. Albuquerque attorney Jason Bowles believes that his state should follow suit. “There are no protections right now in New Mexico for workers who use medical marijuana legally,” Bowles said. Provisions in a draft of the legalization bill make it illegal to take adverse action against employees for a positive drug test for cannabis or for legal conduct outside of the workplace. Workers would not be protected if employers could show “by a preponderance of evidence that an employee’s lawful use of cannabis has impaired the ability to perform the employee’s job.” The bill would not protect employees who use or possess cannabis at work. Some exceptions for businesses and schools for action taken to comply with federal law are also included in the working draft of the bill. Broad Legalization Measure The bill by Ortiz y Pino and Martinez is a broad cannabis legalization measure that would permit the use and sale of recreational marijuana. The measure would allow the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants and establish a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales. Local jurisdictions would be required to decide whether to allow cannabis dispensaries through elections. In addition to the employee provisions, tenants, parents, and students would be protected from sanctions for using cannabis either recreationally or medicinally. Vermont is the only state that has legalized the recreational use of cannabis through action by the legislature. All other states that have legalized the adult use of pot have done so through the citizen initiative process. Despite polls that show support for cannabis legalization in New Mexico, Ortiz y Pino believes it may be difficult to get the bill passed by the legislature. “It’s going to be tough,” said Ortiz y Pino. “The House will probably vote for it. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Kamala Harris Advocates “Dismantling Failed War on Drugs” in New Book
    The cavalcade of 2020 presidential hopefuls pulling for marijuana legalization is getting larger. California senator Kamala Harris reinforced her sympathies with the weed community on Tuesday with the release of her new book The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. In it, she calls for regulation of cannabis, and more intensive research into the drug’s effects. “Something else it’s past time we get done is dismantling the failed war on drugs—starting with marijuana,” writes Harris in an excerpt you can find on Google Books. Primary among the senator’s reasoning is the War on Drugs’ blatant racism. She cites the fact that at the beginning of 2018, 93 percent of all cannabis possession arrests made by the NYPD were of people of color. “These racial disparities are staggering and unconscionable,” Harris says. “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it.” None of this is to say that Harris has come out as cannabis industry booster, per se. The candidate is careful to acknowledge that there is much we don’t know about the science of cannabis, particularly in relation to the way it affects our bodies. But that lack of scientific evidence, she argues, is no reason to continue prohibition. Indeed, marijuana’s current federal classification as a Schedule I drug (having no accepted medical use) has brutally handicapped researchers hoping to conduct clinical studies on its effects. “That means committing ourselves to doing the research, listening to what the science tells us, and acting on that information in our approach,” Harris concludes. Like many of her peers, Harris’ thoughts on cannabis legalization have undergone a distinct evolution. In 2014, news cameras caught the then-attorney general laughing off the issue of legalizing cannabis in California, saying simply of the pro-legalization stance taken by her Republican challenger for her position, “He’s entitled to his opinion.” In May of last year, she officially reversed this seemingly credulous outlook, announcing her support for Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act.
    Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do. Today, I’m announcing my support for @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Act. pic.twitter.com/cOh3SjMaOW — Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 10, 2018 But the political winds have shifted. California did, in fact, legalize adult use cannabis–as have many states across the country. And now it is nearly anathema for Democratic leaders to take a jocular attitude towards the future of federal cannabis law. Last week, Jay Inslee, the Washington State governor and potential 2020 White House candidate, announced ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Popular Canadian Pharmacy Chain Officially Starts Carrying Medical Cannabis
    Things just got more convenient for medical cannabis patients in Ontario. On Tuesday, the popular pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart launched its online retail portal for medical cannabis products. Shoppers is a national chain, but for now it will only supply Ontario residents. Licensed patients will have to submit some paperwork in order to access the online store. Retail cannabis consumers, however, cannot make purchases, but they are able to browse the store’s offerings. Shoppers Drug Mart Just Started Selling Medical Cannabis Online Health Canada regulates and oversees Canada’s medical cannabis program. And under the agency’s rules, there’s only one legal mode of distribution for medical cannabis products: mail orders that go directly from licensed producers to patients. As a retail pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart is not a medical cannabis producer. It did however obtain a license from Health Canada to be one. It had to, in order to be able to sell to licensed patients in the first place. But instead of producing its own cannabis, Shoppers says it has lined up supply agreements with 10 licensed producers. Shoppers obtained its own producer license in September 2018, nearly two years after submitting the initial application. On December 8, 2018, Health Canada licensed the company to sell medical cannabis products as well as accessories, like vape pens, online. Specifically, Shoppers can sell dried and fresh cannabis, seeds, plants and oils. Ontario’s adult-use retailers, by contrast, cannot sell oils or concentrates. Canada hopes to add regulations allowing the retail sale of cannabis concentrates later this year. Shoppers is also following other Health Canada requirements for sellers. All customers are required to submit information they receive from the doctor who issued their cannabis prescription along with their Health Canada license information, before they can place an order. Once a patient begins the process by submitting their documentation, an advisor contacts them to review their medical history, help them register online and make product recommendations. For Buyers, Shopper’s Drug Mart Has a Better Website Than the OCS Since adult-use legalization took effect in Canada on October 17, Ontario’s retail cannabis sector has been beset with problems. Incorrect and missing orders, privacy breaches, quality control issues and other mishaps have damaged the Ontario Cannabis Store’s reputation with customers. Some have even returned to their unlicensed suppliers. Unlike other provinces where customers can walk into a weed shop and make a purchase, Ontario is restricting adult-use cannabis retail to the OCS’s online store. And while it appears some of the major issues have been ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • FDA Officials Seize CBD Edibles From Arizona Smoke Shop
    Officials who claimed to be from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seized CBD edibles from an Arizona smoke shop last week, according to media reports. David Murray of the Neverlow Glass Gallery in Yuma said that just after the store opened on January 3, three people who identified themselves as officials from the FDA came to the shop and confiscated CBD products from the store shelves. Murray said the FDA officials from “another enforcement unit” came with the FDA officials, although he could not remember which agency they were from. “They came in this morning and they took eight chocolate bars, 14 packs of gummies, and 23 K-cups,” said Murray. The business owner said that the officials flashed badges and identification cards but did not show a warrant and did not leave a receipt for the items that they had taken. “It wasn’t much,” Murray said. “They said they were going to send me paperwork within seven to 10 business days or I was going to get my product back.” He also said that the FDA officials told him that CBD products were required to be labeled “as a pet product,” he said, along with the words, “if consumed by a human, there’s no concern.” The officials also told him that the FDA was “making their own regulations for [hemp].” Murray said that four days earlier, FDA officials had come to the shop asking which products were edible and intended for human consumption. Murray then showed them the coffee, gummies, and chocolate. The officials left and Murray did not know that they had planned to return. Similar Activity at Different Arizona Store Chris Martin operates Hempful Farms, the manufacturer of the coffee and chocolate confiscated at the Neverglow Glass Gallery. Although he hadn’t heard of any other products being seized, he said that his store in Phoenix was visited by three “jarhead-looking guys, straight outta military,” also on Thursday. The men refused to identify themselves and asked strange questions while they were at the shop. “You take this and put this in your mouth?” Martin remembers one of them asking. “Patients don’t do that. People who are just looking for help don’t do that stuff,” he said. Murray said that he does not know what he is going to do next. He is waiting for the paperwork from the FDA or the return of his merchandise. In the meantime, he still has CBD products to sell if he so chooses. Only the CBD edibles on store shelves were taken, even though Murray ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • NYC Mayor Intends to Prevent Cannabis Corporatization if Legalization Succeeds
    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a cannabis industry fueled by small businesses if legalization efforts in the state succeed. Speaking before a Brooklyn audience last week, the mayor said that in addition to the health and safety issues involved with legal pot, he is concerned about the potential influence of big business on New Yorkers and the emerging market. “My goal is that we avoid the corporatization of the marijuana industry,” de Blasio said. Referring to two state legislators in the crowd, the mayor said that they and other lawmakers could create a legal cannabis industry built on small operators. “We have a chance and these two folks and their colleagues have in their hands a chance, to do something that’s never been done before, to literally exclude corporate America and make sure this is a small business community-based industry,” de Blasio said. He also said that a legalization plan should include social equity provisions to ensure that “the opportunity first and foremost goes to communities that are victimized and individuals who are victimized, right down to people having an opportunity to start businesses and get jobs who served time who should have never served time to begin with.” Mayor’s Task Force Calls for Legalization Last month, the Mayor’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization released the reportA Fair Approach to Marijuana,” suggesting a plan for the legalization of marijuana in New York. In a letter of introduction for the report, de Blasio compared cannabis to other products now controlled by corporate interests. “We’ve seen these kinds of new industries spring up before. Legalization can follow two routes. In one, corporate Cannabis rushes in and seizes a big, new market, driven by a single motive: greed. In another, New Yorkers build their own local cannabis industry, led by small businesses and organized to benefit our whole diverse community,” de Blasio wrote. “Tragically, we know what happens when corporations run the show,” he added. “For decades, Big Tobacco knew its product was both deadly and addictive. But it denied, obscured, advertised, and lobbied its way into America’s homes, targeting children,” the mayor continues. “For decades, Big Oil knew its product was choking the human race on the only planet we have. Yet, it did its level best to create an economy based on fossil fuels. More recently, Big Pharma peddled opioids as a safe, non-addictive cure for pain. Now, Americans are crushed by a plague of overdose deaths. We can’t let cannabis follow that course.” New York ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Missouri Coffee Company Launching CBD-Infused Canned Cold Brew
    The United States’ thriving obsession with CBD-infused coffee products has resulted in another product launch, this time in the American heartland. The Roasterie, a Kansas City company, announced on Monday that it is retailing a canned cold brew with 10 milligrams of CBD. Does this news have you abuzz? Those who are interested and located in the general vicinity of Missouri can pick up the drink at Kansas City CBD store chain American Shaman — the drink is a Roasterie-American Shaman collaboration — and the Roasterie Factory Cafe, for $5 a can, alongside the company’s pre-existing line of canned cold brews. In November, Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, a medical marijuana initiative that will allow cannabis patients to cultivate the plant at home, and buy up to four ounces of cannabis a month. Industrial hemp products have been legal for purchase in Missouri since state legislators passed an initiative in May of 2018. Low-THC products have been legal for consumption by certain patients in the state since the passage of 2014’s HB 2238. Missouri cannabis advocates cheered when Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker made it known that her office was deprioritizing marijuana possession cases shortly after the passage of November’s medical marijuana voter’s initiative. “That mandate from voters is directing this shift in our office,” Baker said. “This changing attitude toward marijuana is something we have been seeing anecdotally from our juries for some time.” Fans of CBD cups of joe can already find made-to-order cups in cafes across the United States. Portland, New York City, and Milwaukee are all cities where such a delicacy may already be enjoyed. Caffeinated CBD isn’t just trending in the United States. In Waterford City, Ireland, Blooms Cafe hawks cannabis flower and CBD-infused brews under the country’s legal limit of 0.2 percent THC. The global coffee-marijuana connection runs deep—this fall, Canada’s Second Cup Coffee has also announced plans to convert preexisting locations into cannabis dispensaries via a partnership with weed company National Access Corp. Though undeniably popular, the CBD coffee movement has not been without its detractors. To quote High Times’ own Jeremy Glass, it’s possible that upon consuming an infused brew, “You don’t feel relaxed, you don’t feel alert, you just feel like a hunk of fat in clothing.” Many have pointed out that the merger combines two substances with what may seem like contradictory effects, given CBD’s reputation as a relaxer. Nonetheless, those who love drinking their cannabis have a lot to look forward to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Alberta Health Services Just Refused a $6,000 Donation From Cannabis Club
    Alberta Health Services has reportedly refused to accept a $6,000 donation from a cannabis club that wished to honor one of its members. Patrick Parsons, a board member of the Calgary Cannabis Club, said that the group directed the donation to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in recognition of the excellent care it provided to Rick Beaver. The member of the club died of esophageal cancer at the age of 65 last November. “He was quite impressed with the empathy and compassion he received so we thought it was a no-brainer to us that the money raised go there,” said Parsons. “Rick was raving about how good the staff was.” Parsons said that the money had been raised at several charitable events including a fundraiser on December 9 that included live and silent auctions. However, when the group tried to make the donation, officials at Alberta Health Services (AHS) refused to accept the money. Parsons believes that the taboo against cannabis still exists, despite the legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana in Canada. “The stigma is still there—when you’re talking about dollars and cents, there’s probably the thought that the money’s from the illegal sale of cannabis but that’s not the case here at all,” he said. “The money was raised in a very thoughtful, legitimate manner.” Parsons said that he believes that much of the medical community still does not accept the medicinal value of cannabis. “Until they accept the research about the good it does, there’s a roadblock,” said Parsons. Parsons said that the donation was especially significant because Beaver had consumed cannabis at the center as part of his treatment. “He was one of the first people to use cannabis at the cancer center and have it documented, they had it on his chart,” said Parsons. Health Agency Responds AHS said in a statement that Health Canada and fundraising foundations are currently consulting about the issue of cannabis philanthropy. Until their work is completed later this year, the agency will be unable to accept cannabis-related donations. “Until the engagement is complete and a longer-term perspective on cannabis philanthropy has been determined, AHS will defer accepting any donations from the cannabis sector,” it stated. “AHS will update its foundation partners about progress of the engagement throughout 2019, and will also provide materials to support board discussions and decision-making related to cannabis.” The statement added that the AHS does not “direct what kind of gifts foundations may or may not accept.” Parsons said that the money raised by the Calgary Cannabis ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Oregon CBD Producers May Need Special License to Sell Products in Dispensaries
    For years, hemp CBD products have been held to vastly different legal and regulatory standards than cannabis. But new rules from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission seek to change that. The rules aren’t in place yet; regulators are still considering them. But the change would require industrial hemp growers and processors to obtain a special permit if they wish to sell their products in a licensed cannabis retail store. Growing CBD Demand Prompts Oregon Regulators to Consider New Rules Cannabidiol (CBD), the therapeutic yet non-psychoactive compound produced by cannabis plants, has become a nationwide health and wellness phenomenon. And the popularity of CBD has catapulted the United States’ hemp industry into the national spotlight. Last December, the 2018 Farm Bill took the extraordinary step of federally legalizing industrial hemp and all of its products (with less than 0.3 percent THC). Yet prior federal legislation had already cleared the way for states to legalize and regulate their own hemp industries. In Oregon, hemp regained its status as an agricultural commodity three years ago. Today, the state is one of the country’s centers of industrial hemp cultivation, along with Colorado and Kentucky. (Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has long-championed legalizing industrial hemp, and was the main proponent of this and previous Farm Bills’ pro-hemp legislation.) This year’s federal legalization of hemp paves the way for FDA approval and regulation of hemp products like CBD. But currently, most hemp CBD products are not subject to any regulatory oversight or standards. As these products rapidly grow in popularity, however, consumers are demanding more protections. Indeed, a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that less than a third of the 84 CBD oils, tinctures, and liquids tested contained as much CBD as the labels claimed. New Rules Might Drive CBD Products Out of Oregon’s Retail Cannabis Industry For growers and processors, though, additional OLCC requirements are more likely to drive products out of Oregon’s retail cannabis industry. Hemp producers in Oregon can easily sell CBD products online or in states that don’t require special licensing. Under the rules’ current iteration, producers could even sell CBD products at traditional retail shops in Oregon. The OLCC proposal would only require hemp companies to obtain a license to sell products in OLCC-licensed cannabis dispensaries. As a result, some growers are already planning to eschew cannabis retail licensing requirements, should they take effect, and take their business elsewhere. “Oregon isn’t our only market,” Big Top Farms owner Sykes Mitchell told The Bulletin. “I doubt ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Activists Reportedly Gathered 8,000 Signatures to Decriminalize Psilocybin in Denver
    Activists in Denver plan to submit more than 8,000 signatures to city officials on Monday in an effort to put a psilocybin decriminalization initiative on the ballot. Organizers with the group Decriminalize Denver will gather for a rally and news conference at 3:00 pm Monday on the steps of the Denver City and County Building, according to media reports. Monday is the deadline to submit petitions for initiatives to be included on the May 2019 ballot. At least 4,726 valid signatures from registered voters are needed for the Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative to qualify for this spring’s election. Kevin Matthews, the campaign director for the initiative, said that the measure is seeking a change in enforcement policy for psychedelic mushrooms. “We’re not legalizing here,” Matthews said. “Essentially, what we’re doing is keeping people out of prison for what is essentially a non-violent crime offense.” If the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative passes, it would make the possession, use, and propagation of psilocybin mushrooms for adults 21 and older the “city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.” The measure would “prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties” on those who possess or cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for personal use. The measure also creates a city “psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance.” Denver for Psilocybin began gathering signatures for the initiative effort in October. Matthews predicted success at the time. “I’m very optimistic we’re going to get the signatures,” he said. Medicinal Use of Mushrooms Shows Promise Tyler Williams of the group Denver for Psilocybin said last year that there are legitimate medical uses for psilocybin. “There’s a lot of research for all sorts of mental health issues. Everything from anxiety to depression to cluster headaches, addiction,” said Williams. “I had a suicide attempt November 12th of 2015 and I think it helped me get out of my depression, and it’s helped me with my PTSD,” Williams added. Kathy Hawkins is a licensed professional counselor who treats a few patients who use psilocybin therapeutically. While she doesn’t supervise these therapy sessions, she is available before and after to assist the patients. “So, I’m a place where they can come and talk about it. So they can make sure they’re being safe about how they’re using, what they’re using, why they’re using,” she said. Hawkins noted that a John Hopkins study showed that psilocybin could have a positive effect on cancer patients that lasted up to a year. “They’re so desperate for help, they’re willing to try. So they’ve had ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Skirting Italian Cannabis Law With EasyJoint
    LGC Capital, a Canadian investment firm focused on the global cannabis market, just bought 47 percent of EasyJoint, the biggest producer of what is known as “cannabis light” in Italy. “Cannabis light” is the term broadly used by Italians (and by national newspapers and media outlets) to refer to cannabis with THC levels below legal limits.  Classified as a “collector’s item” instead of a smoking product, EasyJoint was created by Luca Marola, a cannabis activist, author, and owner of one of the oldest Italian grow-shops, Canapaio Ducaleis. It’s distributed in 11 official EasyJoint stores and can also be found in over 300 retailers, including grow and herbalist stores, and pharmacies. Since the early days of prohibition, cannabis laws in Europe have remained a delicate topic. Each state of the Union handles cannabis in their own way—and Italy chose to lean 420 un-friendly. In 2006, the controversial Fini-Giovanardi Law 49/06 removed the distinction between hard and soft drugs. Until it was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2014, the possession of marijuana and hashish was punished as harshly as the possession of heroin or cocaine. But last year, following in the steps of Switzerland, the boot-shaped nation saw a shift in mentality regarding cannabis laws. Shutterstock At present, Italian law considers any cannabis flower with THC levels over 0.5 percent to be a narcotic substance. But since 2006, medical marijuana can be used if a doctor prescribes it, and only for the treatment of specific chronic diseases. EasyJoint plays with legal loopholes and relies on its extremely low THC levels (never above 0.2 percent) to stay legit. EasyJoint established the minimum quality standards and gave farmers financial references putting on a contract the ones whom could reach them,” Luca Fortin, an economist specialized in Drug Policy at the Sorbonne University in Paris, tells High Times. “These informations are key for a new market with a biannual productive cycle such as the outdoor production and the consequential increasing number of people involved in the market created a group focused exclusively on cannabis inflorescences. It has proven that this market not only is fresh, innovative and constantly growing at an international level but that it also can contribute to the development of the country in a significant way.”  Shutterstock At the European level, Fortin explains, EasyJoint gives resonance to a phenomenon that started in Switzerland. It shows that it’s possible to create a market around cannabis inflorescences at a community level, despite the commercialization of the flower lacking regulation. “The legitimacy of a cannabis ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-07
  • Washington State Governor Announced Plan to Clear Marijuana Convictions
    Amid a flurry of rumors regarding his possible run for the White House in 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a limited program to pardon misdemeanor cannabis convictions stemming from 1998 to 2012. “We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal behavior in the state of Washington,” said Inslee on Friday morning at the annual Washington State Cannabis Summit, an event held by marijuana business interests. Since the beginning of December, Inslee has been under scrutiny. The media in Washington reported that he quietly formed a federal political action committee (PAC) and made personal phone calls to key donors in hopes of raising funds to travel to target states. Although he’s lesser-known than candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke, Inslee reportedly is banking on his stellar record of supporting environmental causes to win votes. Many 2020 candidates have expressed their support for widespread cannabis legalization. The governor’s office estimates that some 3,500 people will be eligible for the pardons. But they must be looked over individually by Inslee’s staff first. A senior policy advisor to the governor attributed his support of the program to his concern over sweeping racism within the justice system related to drug convictions. A study by the University of Washington’s Alexes Harris and Katherine Beckett found that in 2006, Seattle’s drug arrest rate for Black people was 13 times higher than that of the city’s white population. Biased arrest, conviction, and incarceration rates have been tied to family separation and housing instability among Washington’s communities of color. To apply for the new pardons, Washington residents can fill out a one-page form available on the governor’s website. Pardons are available only for convictions that were processed by Washington State law — no crimes relating to local ordinances are applicable. Should a pardon petition be successful, it will be wiped from publicly available criminal history reports, but will still be visible to law enforcement. A prior charge will remain in the files of a court that imposed the misdemeanor until the pardoned individual petitions that court directly. Last year, the City of Seattle took steps to expunge the records for around 542 people, an action that was spearheaded by City Attorney Pete Holmes. Those expungements affected convictions of cannabis possession between 1996 and 2010, when Holmes’ office stopped pursuing charges of marijuana possession. The governor’s staff says Inslee is also in favor of broader pardons that would remove misdemeanor cannabis convictions from any ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
  • Lawmakers Just Introduced The CARERS Act to Protect Medical Marijuana
    Lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would protect medical marijuana users in states with legal pot. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, and Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young are the sponsors of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act. If passed, the CARERS Act would amend federal law to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies. It would also permit doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans to treat serious and chronic conditions. Although it would not legalize cannabis at the federal level, it would respect the states’ decisions to legalize medical marijuana and would prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors, and caregivers in those states. The measure is similar to a bill of the same name that stalled in the last Congress. That bill received a host of bipartisan support from Cohen, Young, and Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in its Senate version. Federal Law Out of Sync with Public Opinion Cohen said in a statement that the bill reflects the opinion of a majority of Americans. “The national consensus on medical marijuana is solid and bipartisan, but our federal drug laws continue to treat patients and their doctors like criminals,” Cohen said. “Our bill would bring federal medical marijuana policy in line with the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans by allowing states to set their own marijuana laws, allowing patients, including veterans, to receive the treatments they need from their doctors and improving opportunities for research on marijuana.” Young said that he believes the bipartisan effort can serve as an example of what can be accomplished in the 116th Congress when legislators work together. “I’m hopeful that this is going to be a productive Congress regarding the debate over national cannabis policy,” said Young. “Important components such as protecting medical cannabis, access to CBD, expanding research opportunities, and allowing veterans access are provisions in the CARERS Act which I’m proud to cosponsor with Congressman Steve Cohen. This is the kind of bipartisan effort that doesn’t happen every day but should serve as an example of how we can solve the problems that our constituents have sent us here to do. I look forward to promoting this legislation and other measures to protect the rights of states and individuals.” Federal Marijuana Laws ‘Broken’ Booker said that it is time for a change in ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
  • How Concerned Should Canadian Cannabis Customers be About Privacy?
    Recreational cannabis has been legalized in Canada for a few months now, but the next time you slide through a recreational cannabis shop in the Six, you’d best come equipped with loonies and toonies instead of a credit card. In a recent statement issued by Daniel Therrien, Canada’s privacy commissioner, he urged cannabis sellers and buyers across the country to obtain a better understanding of their privacy rights. To keep the personal information of consumers safe, Therrien suggested that only cash should be used for pot-related transactions. Although recreational cannabis was officially legalized in Canada back in October 2018, the privacy watchdog warned that even lawful marijuana users can be banned from entering countries where cannabis remains illegal. “The OPC [Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada] recognizes the sensitive nature of cannabis-related transactions,” the statement reads. “Although cannabis is legal in Canada, it remains illegal in most jurisdictions outside of Canada. Some countries may, for example, deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully. In the past, there have been several reports of Canadians getting barred from entering the United States for admitting to cannabis use, even when attempting to cross into a state where adult-use legalization is already in effect, such as Washington state. Conversely, a few foreign countries have asked their own citizens not to smoke legal buds while vacationing in the Great White North. iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood Privacy Watchdog Issues Guidelines for Cannabis Sellers and Buyers   The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released a handful of guidelines for both cannabis sellers and buyers to follow. This document was created to help these parties understand the right to privacy and obligations under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This Canadian law effectively defines personal information as “information about an identifiable individual,” which can include potentially sensitive data like your name, date of birth, driver’s license number, social insurance number, financial information, and so on. To help protect legal cannabis consumers from having their personal information used against them, the privacy watchdog offered a number of recommendations to retailers and buyers. For instance, the OPC’s guidance states that cannabis shops should “obtain meaningful consent before collecting any personal information” and that they “should be clear on what information they are required to collect during in-person transactions.” However, there is little that cannabis retailers can do when a customer decides to use a credit card, as the seller could be required by ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04
  • Another Racketeering Lawsuit Against Legal Cannabis Growers is Thrown Out
    Despite losing their battle in court, four Sonoma County residents who sued a local cannabis cultivator over odor say they’ve ultimately won their war against Carlos Zambrano and his Green Earth business partners. By the time U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar dismissed the four’s RICO lawsuit against Zambrano, he had already shut down his growing operations for six weeks. In fact, Zambrano and Green Earth aren’t saying whether they’ll even try to start things up again in Sonoma County. But Judge Tigar’s ruling, which throws out another racketeering lawsuit against a legal cannabis company, sets a crucial legal precedent that favors cannabis growers in California. RICO Dismissal Sets Important Legal Precedent for California’s Cultivation Industry The regulations governing California’s cannabis industry give significant authority to county and municipal governments to determine whether and how businesses set up shop in their jurisdictions. And while many California counties and cities have embraced the industry, others have taken extraordinary steps to ban it. Failing statutes and ordinances, the truly disgruntled have attempted to sue cannabis companies under federal law. And their weapon of choice has been the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970. In its time, the RICO Act was landmark legislation aimed at crippling organized crime. But in recent years, plaintiffs have attempted to use RICO law against state-licensed cannabis operations. Civil portions of the RICO Act allow plaintiffs to sue companies for losses and damages, for example. And the lawsuit brought against Zombaro and Green Earth by a law firm representing four Petaluma, California residents represents the first attempt to use RICO’s civil Chapters against a legal cannabis cultivator. That’s what makes Judge Tigar’s dismissal of their case so important. It sets a legal precedent that could help protect other California cultivators from civil legal action in the future. Cannabis Cultivators in CA Can Breathe a Little Easier About Smell Complaints Cannabis cultivation is undeniably an aromatic process. And controlling the smell is challenging, despite state regulators’ best attempts to write HVAC and other codes to deal with it. But for residents opposed to local cannabis businesses, keeping the air free of the floral, pungent scent is an inviolable right worth tremendous legal expense to protect. Or at least it was for the four Sonoma County residents who sued cannabis cultivator Carlos Zambrano over his operation’s “sickening cannabis odor” and loud noise. In court, attorney Kevin Block argued that Zambrano’s grow diminished the value and enjoyment of his clients’ properties. But in his lengthly ruling, Judge Jon Tigar ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-04