As Malta positions itself as the medical cannabis hub in the Mediterranean region, over 1,600 experts, investors and medical professionals from around the world visited the island to discuss a bright and green future. The second annual edition of the three-day MedCann World Forum launched to an excited crowd, with the buzz on the floors of the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta showing just how much hype and interest there is in Malta’s next big industry. People were lined up outside before the big day. MEP Miriam Dalli delivered her keynote speech in style. Medical cannabis is projected to be a multi-billion euro business within a few years, with Malta set to make up to €1 billion in medical cannabis exports and employ 900 people in the local industry in the next three years. The hall was packed with interested delegates ready to learn more. With legislation in place and the political and business will to make the medical cannabis industry in Malta truly take off, let’s take a look at some of the key highlights from MedCann 2019. Lots of cool branded items and useful freebies were up for grabs at MedCann. Over 1,600 people from around the world travelled to Malta to learn more about Malta’s budding medical cannabis industry. Experts and investors from everywhere from Canada, USA, Israel, UK, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Columbia, Australia, among many other countries, were kept busy with a series of insightful talks from industry insiders. The Forum was the perfect place for the international businessmen to lay their roots on the island, network with like-minded individuals and get a better understanding of the local market. People were keen to network and get a foothold in the Maltese industry. Over 30 international companies showcased their wares. And it wasn’t only international companies – several Maltese companies offered their services as more and more businesses attempt to enter the local market. It’s no secret that 50% of companies applying to begin operating in Malta were refused due to the strict requirements and due diligence needed to set up shop. However, for the ones that made it through the tough process, they would be granted access to the European market and be offered the support of the Maltese government. Some of the biggest companies in the medical cannabis world were in attendance. As were some of the key policy makers globally. Attendees were treated to some incredibly stimulating discussions from key experts who didn’t hold back from sharing their insights. The cannabis industry is one of the most progressive industries worldwide and several prominent women took the stage to share their stories and provide support for up-and-coming women in the industry. A strong panel. Insiders from the Canadian industry also took the stage for a blunt and open discussion about what the industry did right, and what they did wrong. And how Malta can learn from their mistakes. Candian experts were hopeful for Malta. And people were ready to listen to all the speakers' had to say. With everyone seeing that Malta was positioning itself as a frontrunner in the European medical cannabis market, several high-ranking government officials spoke about their vision for the future. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Minister for the Economy Chris Cardona reminded delegates just how serious they were about this industry, while Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista and Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia laid out some of the more interesting aspects of the industry. The mood was light and hopeful among both politicians and investors. And the government made it clear that this new industry has its support. With production of medical cannabis products forecast to begin in April 2020, Malta is consolidating its position in Europe. And judging from the excited international delegates, Maltese politicians and policymakers, the only question is – how long do we have to wait for MedCann 2020? Photos: Emma Tranter Did you attend MedCann 2019? Let us know how you enjoyed it in the comments below. READ NEXT: WATCH: From Eggy Tomatoes To Sautéed Aubergines, Here Are Two More Traditional Maltese Recipes
Eve & Co Incorporated (TSXV: EVE) announced this morning that it will be entering the cannabis beverage space. The female-focused firm will be doing so via a partnership with that of Colio Estate Wines, the firm behind the Girls Night Out line of wine products. Under the letter of intent signed between the two firms, Eve & Co will have exclusive access to the Girls Night Out brand for the purpose of creating a premium cannabis-infused beverage. The product will then be part of Eve & Co’s consumer packaged good launch which is anticipated to occur in early 2020. The letter of intent indicates that a licensing agreement will be entered into among Eve & Co and Colio Estate Wines within 60 days for the use of the Girls Night Out label. Preliminary terms indicated to be within the LOI are a five year term, with a five year renewal option. Royalty fees have been “contemplated” however no specifics were provided. Distribution of the cannabis infused beverage is expected to occur in 2020. Eve & Co last traded at $0.18 on the TSX Venture. Information for this briefing was found via Sedar and Eve & Co Incorporated. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses. As the founder of The Deep Dive, Jay is focused on all aspects of the firm. This includes operations, as well as acting as the primary writer for The Deep Dive’s stock analysis. In addition to The Deep Dive, Jay performs freelance writing for a number of firms and has been published on Stockhouse.com and CannaInvestor Magazine among others.
Maelstrom of Morality – Medical Dispensaries return to B.C. court with an Appeal – Cannabis News | Lifestyle Tips | Expert Opinions | Stocks
Vancouver‘s unlicensed medical dispensaries returned to court this week, appealing a December 2018 B.C. Supreme Court decision that had ordered them to shut down, keeping in time with the initial launch of the coincidental federal legalization late last year.That was followed in early 2019, when the B.C. Court of Appeal dealt a subsequent blow to their test case, by denying their request for a stay on the order to shut down, effectively requiring the immediate closure of numerous dispensaries, to which they complied Legalization or Prohibition The case that came before the B.C. Supreme Court at the end of 2018, stemmed from the City of Vancouver calling for the shut down of the 50 or so unlicensed dispensaries operating at the time, over what they noted as zoning and/or licensing non-compliance. Nearly two dozen dispensaries, which had “similar and overlapping issues, ” as explained by The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary owner Dana Larsen at the time, unified their efforts in what is called a test case, hoping to set a strong precedent that could be referenced going forward, and applied to each of them individually. The dispensaries argued that the current medical regime that came with the newly adopted federal recreational legalization, which built upon the existing Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) and Controlled Drugs and Substance Act (CDSA), was unconstitutional, as there were not the specific provisions needed in the regulations for medical dispensaries, leaving patients to either patron a recreational store, or be expected to purchase their medical cannabis online, from licensed producers. With unreliable wait times for medicine delivery, and additionally requiring computer access, an online bank account, and a permanent address, these restrictions had the potential to violate patient’s Charter rights to reasonable access to medicine, as argued by the dispensary lawyers. The constitutional validity of numerous past cannabis regulations had been a storied battle over the years already, which saw landmark decisions being ruled by the Supreme Court of Canada, in favor of medicinal patients. Additionally, the dispensary attorneys argued that since the city had, to an extent, aided and abetted the municipal licensing of medical dispensaries in the past, by issuing “Medical Marijuana-related” business licenses, all while collecting licensing fees, the new Cannabis Act and attempts by the city to retcon itself, now demanding new provincial and federal licenses, or calling for the dispensary closures all together, at most, placed the retailers in a legal grey zone. On the flip side, the lawyers for the City of Vancouver had argued that the dispensaries did not have the legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation, as they did not represent patients themselves, and therefore couldn’t argue the breach of third party rights on behalf of them. Additionally, as the dispensaries had themselves acknowledged that they did not have valid business licenses, at the start of the case, the city argued, that whether grandfathered in or not with a development license, or properly zoned, the dispensaries were quite simply in violation of bylaws, as well as not complying with the new provincial and federal legislation. B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Hinkson, in a ruling on Dec 13, 2018, sided with the City of Vancouver, ruling against the medical dispensaries, calling for their closure, and payment of fees and costs owed. A follow-up application for a stay in the ruling, which called for the closure of 9 specific dispensaries in question, failed, with Judge Hunter upholding the order of the Chief Justice, however, this decision did expedite the appeal process, which led to hearings being held this week. Extenuating Circumstances As noted in the court’s decision late last year, Chief Justice Hinkson chose to abstain from weighing in on the unconstitutionality of the federal regulations in place concerning the access of medical cannabis, instead of focusing rather on the questions of bylaw compliance, which have no bearing in constitutional responsibility. The appeal hearings, brought forth by the medical dispensaries in question, took place this Wednesday and Thursday, at the Court of Appeal of British Columbia, with the position being taken that the B.C. Supreme Court, in its Dec 2018 ruling, failed to understand that reasonable access of medicine is being denied to medicinal patients with each subsequently forced closure of medicinal dispensaries, defended as municipal bylaw enforcement, and benefiting licensed corporate recreational retail locations. The lawyers for Canada and the City of Vancouver, as the position was presented, contended however that medical patients in the city have access to all the products they may require, especially now that edibles, concentrates, topicals, and extracts have been legalized. They also argued that the extensive medical needs of patients can be easily served by the recreational stores currently licensed by the municipality. The three judges ruling over the case have reserved their decision, and the outcome is now being awaited by both legal teams; with the case going back to the original judge to be reviewed, or being escalated to a higher level of the courts. Some Thoughts Whether one wishes to acknowledge it or not, there is an argument to be made for the regulations and health and safety precautions now in place in the licensed cannabis retail market. That same argument would extend to supporting this growing, multi-million dollar industry across the country, that is bringing in new consumers, particularly amongst seniors, and breaking down the stigma that in the minds of many still lingers. It would argue that through legalization a little over a year ago, barriers that prevented entry into this storied culture have been softened and that in a few years time, with positive trends in mind, we may get to a point where large scale marketing and event sponsorship by cannabis producers is the norm. A point where dropping in at a retailer to pick up a joint or two before a game or a party is regular happenstance, and where liquor and cannabis are held in the same esteem. A time where hemp farming and cannabis production is found across the planet, without the harsh penalties and persecution that currently curtails it. On the other side, one could argue that what is available in this licensed market, product-wise and at its current price point, is simply not up to the standards easily set by the unlicensed market, that it is choking out the culture, and diluting what is such an amazing plant. The argument could be made, mirroring its counterpart across the legislative floor, that instead of constructing bridges, the regulations in place have instead built walls, with madmen rebranding prohibition with legalization, and course-correcting the progress that had been hard-fought, now in reverse, and clouding it in bureaucracy. That what made the culture of cannabis so special, so craft is being white-labeled on a factory assembly line, for the purposes of mass production, and even larger profits. That a strain dichotomous tree, so diverse, and rivaling BC VQA, is being forgotten and that all the benefits that could be gained, under a different regime, lost. But neither of these arguments matter in this case. This is not a recreational issue. This is a story about medicine, and the reasonable access to it, as protected by the Charter, is the only card that should be in play. With past society-changing decisions such as Smith, and Allard, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the many courts across the country, have laid the precedent down, and drawn a path forward, for how patients, many of whom suffer from terminal illnesses and severe chronic pain, should be able to find treatment and compassion. Denying those patients that same level of access now is wrong. Period. Time and time again, Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – one that protects the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person – has had to be referenced in hearings before the court, to defend the ability for a patient to simply receive the medicine. For a patient to be able to consume medicinal cannabis is the form best suited for them, such as in Smith. To reaffirm the relationship between local producers and patients, after it was stamped out by government weed, such as in Allard. Whether someone supports licensed recreational retailers or not is not what is in question. This is about people and having compassion for them. Even recently, with each subsequent raid, by the province’s Community Safety Unit, of the remaining unlicensed vendors across the province, patients have come out to show support and advocate for their local medicinal dispensaries, unprompted. This a story about the quality of life, about human rights, and how we as a society choose to step into the next decade, walking hand-in-hand with groundbreaking national legalization, a century removed from when the prohibition it ended began.
On national television Wednesday night, as Democratic candidates debated their viability to become President, Cory Booker did something radical. He said what everyone at home watching was really thinking. The moment centered around former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent antagonism toward marijuana. Biden opposes legalization, still unsure if cannabis is a “gateway drug,” despite national research institutes stating otherwise. Booker had some thoughts on Biden’s stance. “This week I hear him literally say that, ‘I don’t think we should legalize marijuana,’” Booker started. Then he turned to Biden and added, “I thought you might have been high when you said it.” Booker calls out Biden on his stance against legalizing marijuana: “I thought you might have been high when you said it” #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/21ysS5kndt — The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 21, 2019 Booker’s comments drew spurious laughs, and he used the opportunity to address the war on drugs and its devastating effects to communities of color. RELATED: House Judiciary Committee Just Approved Historic Bill To Legalize Marijuana “Marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people,” Booker said. “It’s why the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people. “With more African Americans under criminal supervision in America than all the slaves since 1850, do not roll up into communities and not talk directly to issues that are going to relate to the liberation of children. Because there are people in Congress right now that admit to smoking marijuana, while there are people, our kids, who are in jail right now for those drug crimes.” The former Vice President responded to the criticism, reiterating his belief marijuana should be decriminalize and marijuana-related records should be expunged. He remained fixed in the belief marijuana should not be legalized yet, and that lawmakers need more information before doing so. RELATED: Grading The Presidential Candidates On Marijuana: Overall Rankings ” I do think it makes sense based on data that we should study what the long-term effects are for the use of marijuana, that’s all it is,” Biden said. That said, I’d view it as personal failure if I did share this fantastic meme of Joe Biden’s face melting when Booker smoked him for his marijuana views. pic.twitter.com/0FYHnSVaq1 — Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) November 21, 2019
Dewey Scientific aims to bring sophisticated research methods to the cannabis industry For years, cannabis cultivation has been more art than science. Breeders and legacy growers developed varieties and produced crops without the tools or experience of professional biochemists and genetics experts. But with commercial legalization jumping from one state to the next, several companies have joined the race to fine-tune the cannabis genome and bring 21st century techniques into the evolving space. Dewey Scientific is among these relative newcomers — a company with academic chops rather than decades of hands-on experience specifically in cannabis cultivation. The company’s three co-founders — CEO Jordan Zager, chief science officer Mark Lange and director of research Paul Mihalyov — all have doctorates in plant sciences. “Over the last decade, the cost of sequencing the plant genome has dropped tremendously,” Zager says, “so it’s allowed for a lot of advancements in how we can selectively breed, based on genetic information, not just what it looks like or what it’s producing.” The company, which now employs about a dozen people, moved into its Pullman, Washington facility in November 2018 and works with clients in the hemp and marijuana spaces with the goal of producing more consistent and higher-yielding cannabis crops that are tailored for their region’s climate. Dewey Scientific co-founders (from left to right): Paul Mihalyov, Jordan Zager and Mark Lange Marijuana Venture: What does starting a “cannabis genomics” company entail? Jordan Zager: A lot of farmers don’t necessarily have scientific expertise, and we’re dealing with a plant that has been ignored for decades from a scientific standpoint, so we’re trying to catch the industry up to other plant-based industries. There are other cannabis genomics companies out there, but most of them are just starting to look at the surface level of the genome. Our RNA-based analysis is much deeper. It gives you a snapshot of gene expression, as opposed to just gene presence, which is what DNA sequencing does. RNA sequencing tells you what genes are there and how strongly they are turned on at a given point in time. Paul Mihalyov: One thing we’re able to do is flash-freeze a cannabis flower and isolate the live trichome cells, extract the RNA and sequence it. We’re basically able to look at gene regulation in the cell types that are producing cannabinoids and terpenoids. MV: What have you learned so far in your studies of cannabis? In what areas are you making progress? Zager: Mostly our progress has been a lot of fundamental research. We’ve been doing a lot of cellular biology techniques and we’ve been working with some clients and partners in the Yakima Valley (Washington), we’ve got some clients in the Willamette Valley (Oregon) and a couple companies in Colorado. We’ve been working with these clients who are inclined to turn to science and helping them take advantage of the data they can generate from their farms. Mihalyov: One of the most interesting things about some of the RNA work we do, is that we’re able to figure out when some of the expression patterns are coming out in the growing cycle. For example, for hemp farmers, it’s very important to figure out when they should be harvesting — when CBD production is the highest and the THC production is the lowest. One way of doing that is running your samples on an HPLC (high-pressure liquid chromatography) and figuring out which metabolites are present. But if you want to get ahead of the game, you need to figure out the best time to harvest before these compounds are being synthesized. Zager: And we can actually make predictions as to what terpenes will be present. With terpene production, there are a handful of genes responsible, but you can have very tiny mutations. For example, you can have limonene, but if you make one single mutation at the right location, that limonene becomes linalool, so rather than having a citrus-smelling variety, now you have a lavender-smelling variety. We’re using our platform to help clients make informed breeding decisions. We’re helping clients look directly at the trichomes through growth and development. It can give them insights into when they should be harvesting to avoid a hot hemp test and so they can make informed breeding decisions, so down the road, they can design the flavor and aroma of their varieties. MV: How does the current taxonomy of strains line up with what you’re seeing on the plant science side? Zager: A lot of these strains are unique from a genetic standpoint. A lot of it is due to the clandestine nature of cannabis over the last half century. You’ve had very small groups of breeders and farmers, oftentimes in basements or deep in the woods, creating their own gene pool and creating their own genetic drift. It has led to a tremendous amount of genetic diversity. You could have farmers who were 20 miles away, yet their gene pools never crossed. Now, as things are opening up, it’s led to thousands of strains, which is not common in traditional agriculture. Really there are about 20 varieties of apples that are marketed. As the (cannabis) market develops and as consumers figure out what they actually want, I think things will move more toward the varietal route that we see with other plant crops. Mihalyov: We’re not dealing with a commodity crop like corn or soy, where the goal is just to make as much of it as you can. We’re dealing with a horticultural crop, where the consumer is interested in the different varieties. So there are a lot of products that have their own niche in the market. While DNA provides important insight to the genetic composition of cannabis, Dewey Scientific also studies the plant’s RNA to see how it develops during its lifecycle. MV: People often talk about “stable genetics.” Can you talk more about that and where the industry sits in terms of fine-tuning a stable genetic pool? Mihalyov: Cannabis suffers from pretty severe inbreeding depression to the point where if you inbreed it far enough, it will lose its fertility. That creates problems when trying to develop inbred lines, which are required for hybrid seed production. One of the big pushes right now is to figure out if we can inbreed without losing fertility. MV: Do you think seeds or cloning will ever become the dominant method of propagation? Zager: In hemp, I would have to say it’s going the way of a commodity/ag crop. With a 300% increase in acreage this year, to maintain any type of real growth, seeds are the way to go. On the marijuana side, it ties back into the subject of genetic stability, but I think consumers are generally frustrated with the lack of repeatable experiences. You can buy a strain in Seattle and it made you feel great, and then you buy what you thought was the same strain in Portland, and it’s very different. Mihalyov: Consistency is the reason people are doing nothing but cloning right now for marijuana. You absolutely need to, to get that uniformity. And that’s quite frankly why seeds are not particularly common in marijuana. MV: What are your goals as you look at the rest of this year and into 2020? Mihalyov: When it comes to our goals, there are two sides of our company. One is to investigate potentially disruptive technology. The other side that we’re interested in is using classic breeding methods and quantitative genetics to generate stable, incremental yield gains over time, to help reduce volatility in the industry. Without necessarily having to resort to complicated biotechnology, there is already enough genetic variation available to select for varieties that will adapt well to the environment you’re growing in. Zager: We’re about to embark upon a pretty aggressive breeding program. Especially in the hemp space, this year was plagued by poor marketing of seeds. People were getting seeds that were supposed to be 100% female; it turns out they were closer to 50-50 and people lost their whole crop. What we’re really after is producing genetically stable, hybrid seeds with one of our partners in Central Washington. And on the marijuana side, we’re interested in working with producers on characterizing what they have at a level that no one else is really doing right now. There are a lot of producers in the marijuana space, and margins are getting thinner and thinner every year. They need to find ways to reduce the cost of THC production. By making informed and strategic breeding decisions, we can ultimately help reduce the cost of inputs to produce a gram of THC to alleviate the shrinking margins marijuana producers are currently faced with. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Share on Pinterest Share Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on LinkedIn Share Send email Mail
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A divided U.S. House committee approved a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, a vote that was alternately described as a momentous turning point in national cannabis policy or a hollow political gesture. The House Judiciary Committee approved the proposal 24-10 after more than two hours of debate. It would reverse a longstanding federal prohibition by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act while allowing states to set their own rules on pot. The vote “marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy and is truly a sign that prohibition’s days are numbered,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement. Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine called the vote “a historic step forward for cannabis policy reform.” The vote comes at a time when most Americans live in states where marijuana is legal in some form, and committee members from both parties agreed that national cannabis policy lagged woefully behind changes at the state level. That divide has created a host of problems — loans and other banking services, for example, are hard to get for many marijuana companies because pot remains illegal at the federal level. However, the bill’s future is uncertain. It wasn’t immediately clear if the proposal would be reviewed by other committees and when, or if, a vote would take place in the full House. The proposal has better chances of passing in the Democratic-controlled chamber than in the Republican-held Senate. The House passed a bill earlier this year to grant legal marijuana businesses access to banking, but it hasn’t advanced in the Senate. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee complained that the proposal to decriminalize cannabis had never had a hearing and lacked the bipartisan support needed to become law. “It’s going nowhere,” said Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican. Among its provisions, the legislation would authorize a 5% sales tax on marijuana products to fund programs aimed at assisting people and communities harmed in the so-called war on drugs, such as job training and legal aid. It also would require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the nation has for too long “treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem, instead of a matter of personal choice and public health.” “Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating users at the federal level is unwise and unjust,” the New York Democrat said. “The racial disparity in enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.” (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Cannabis descheduling approved by congressional committee (Newsletter: November 21, 2019) | Marijuana Moment
Booker’s marijuana debate slam on Biden; Air Force bans CBD; GOP senator says he tried CBD but it didn’t work Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible… This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 449 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment/ TOP THINGS TO KNOWThe House Judiciary Committee, in a historic vote, approved a bill to deschedule cannabis and fund programs to begin repairing the damage of the war on drugs. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) attacked former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) opposition to marijuana legalization during a Democratic presidential debate, while Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) pledged to end the broader war on drugs.The U.S. Air Force issued a notice banning service members from using CBD products, regardless of their federal legality.Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) revealed during a Senate hearing that he has tried CBD to treat knee pain at his wife’s urging—though he says it didn’t work for him—and the follicly challenged lawmaker joked about the cannabis compound’s hair regrowth potential. Also, he and another senator asked Stephen Hahn, the nominee for Food and Drug Administration commissioner, about regulating cannabidiol.Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steve Hawkins wrote in an op-ed for Marijuana Moment that Joe Biden’s view on cannabis as a potential “gateway drug” are scientifically wrong and represent a political liability. “It’s the criminalization of marijuana that’s the real gateway. Forcing marijuana consumers into the illicit market increases the probability that they will be exposed to other, far more dangerous drugs.” / FEDERALThe Department of Justice finally responded to Marijuana Moment’s Freedom of Information Act request for records about a March 3, 2017 phone call then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions held with Kevin Sabet of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, but the resulting documents don’t reveal much.Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Legalize it. Expunge the records of the victims of the war on drugs.”Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “There are thousands of people labeled felons for life for selling marijuana, while people out there are making a fortune from the marijuana industry. This is an injustice, and as president, I’ll fix it.”Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “💰 U.S. legal marijuana industry tax revenue in 2018: Over $1 billion 👮 Arrests for marijuana possession in 2018: 663,367 While investors profit from cannabis, people continue to get criminal records. Ending the prohibition of marijuana must be a priority.”Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) cheered a move to expand cannabis industry equity in Boston, Massachusetts, tweeting, “The People’s #JusticeGuarantee calls for reinvesting in communities of color who were devastated by the war on drugs. As @HouseJudiciary considers the MORE Act to reverse the harms of the war on drugs, I’m proud to see #MA7 & my sister @Kim_Janey leading on #cannabis #equity.”Delaware Democratic Senate candidate Jessica Scarane supports legalizing marijuana.Texas Democratic congressional candidate Julie Oliver tweeted, “This is a no brainer. End the federal prohibition on marijuana.”The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got two new cosponsors for a total of 57.The House bill to shield military veterans from losing benefits over marijuana use got one new cosponsor for a total of 14.—Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.— / STATESLouisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he opposes decriminalizing marijuana.Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura tweeted, “Joe Biden says there’s ‘not nearly been enough evidence’ to determine whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug. Are you kidding me? Cigarettes and alcohol ARE the gateway drugs, yet they’re legal. Google, Joe.”. Meanwhile, the state’s Agriculture Department held another hemp listening session.New Jersey legislative leaders said they plan to vote on a marijuana legalization referendum bill in the lame duck session.Oregon regulators will consider violation stipulated settlement agreements and other marijuana issues on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, located in the state, submitted a hemp regulation plan to federal officials.Washington State fiscal officials said that marijuana revenue growth is “expected to moderate.”The Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force held its final meeting.Michigan regulators will hold a public meeting on marijuana issues on December 9.A South Dakota representative said he is “very confident” lawmakers will pass hemp legislation next year. Separately,, the legislature’s Industrial Hemp Study Committee is set to meet on December 2.Here’s a look back at the first year of Massachusetts legal marijuana sales, during which regulators reported that retailers generated $393.7 million in gross sales./ LOCALThe Boston, Massachusetts City Council approved a proposal to overhaul the marijuana business approval process with an eye toward equity for communities harmed by the drug war./ INTERNATIONALThe UK’s Liberal Democrats released a platform that calls for legalizing marijuana and “imposing civil penalties rather than imprisonment” for people caught possessing other drugs. Party leader Jo Swinson spoke about how she enjoyed consuming cannabis.A Trinidad and Tobago senator is pushing for marijuana legalization.Australia’s former minister for trade and investment authored an op-ed on the need to reclassify psychedelics./ SCIENCE & HEALTHA study of sickle cell patients found that “marijuana use was associated with lower instances of [acute chest syndrome]” and that “the fact that mortality, length of stay and total charges were the same amongst the two groups may indicate that during a crisis, the disease process is the same, however outside of having a crisis, marijuana use may help with pain control given later presentation.”A study concluded that “regular marijuana use is associated with prevalent tinnitus.”A study examining whether CBD “is effective in treating alcohol use disorder in individuals with comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder” is recruiting participants.”/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSISA poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 54%-40%.The American Medical Association is calling for a ban on vaping products that aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration.The Drug Policy Alliance is hiring a managing director of communications.The Boston Globe editorial board cheered the City Council’s move to overhaul the marijuana business approval process as a “first step toward equity.”/ BUSINESSCertified Ag Labs slammed Nevada regulators’ move to suspend its marijuana testing license.American Marijuana says it is hiring a cannabis product reviewer for up to $3,000 a month.Arkansas dispensaries have now sold more than $20 million worth of medical cannabis./ CULTUREComedian Adam Carolla said that former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) comments on marijuana as a potential gateway drug are “antiquated.” Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox. Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Close Alayna Nulty Alayna Nulty Alayna Nulty By Diana Anghel, Staff WriterNovember 21, 2019 Champaign County’s Environment and Land Use Committee recently voted on a zoning ordinance and a resolution that has to do with the incorporation of cannabis-based businesses in unincorporated areas of Champaign County. The votes happened on Nov. 7, and both ended in a tie. First, the board voted on a zoning ordinance that allows for cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, cultivation sites and delivery services, to settle in specific zones of the unincorporated areas. Because the votes ended in a tie, the ordinance dies. Vice-Chair for the Environment and Land Use Committee Eric Thorsland voted in favor of the cannabis businesses. “The vote for an ordinance to allow (these businesses) — that’s a rule that either lives or dies in that committee,” he said. The second vote of the committee was on the resolution that fully prohibited all cannabis businesses. This vote also ended in a tie. However, it has a different route than the ordinance. Kyle Patterson, also a member of the board, voted against the prohibition. “Because it’s not a zoning issue, the tie vote sends it to the full county board without recommendation from the committee, so the full county board can vote on that,” Patterson said. Normally, there are three Republicans and four Democrats on the board who vote for these motions. On the day of the vote, one Democrat had conflicts and could not be in attendance, leaving three Republicans and three Democrats on the board. Thorsland said the vote of the full county board for the prohibition will happen on Thursday in the Brookens Administrative Center at 6:30 p.m. There is a time for public comments at the beginning of the meeting. “The more people that come to talk about it, the more important the issue becomes in the mind of the board members,” Thorsland said. Many restrictions come with the incorporation of cannabis businesses in Illinois starting Jan. 1. Illinois receives only 75 licenses for retail establishments for the year. This means applications for licenses will not be admitted every time, and locations of the establishments will be limited. “There are 103 counties in Illinois, so I’m not sure we would even be likely to get one application in Champaign County in unincorporated areas,” Thorsland said. “Champaign and Urbana already have establishments that have requested to set up these businesses.” Within the communities, some worries have been marijuana being a gateway drug, the negative social impacts of marijuana and the use of the drug by those underage. However, many believe it would have positive impacts. William Sunderland, resident of Champaign County since 1983, said he believes the incorporation of these businesses could be a net positive. “Cultivation and dispensaries would be a net positive because if people have a desire for recreational marijuana, they’re going to go where they can get it, and if the smaller communities don’t have dispensaries, you lose the benefit of the sales,” Sunderland said. Similarly, board members Patterson and Thorsland said they believe these businesses could lead to a positive impact. “I voted in support of (the zoning ordinance) because it’s a legal business,” Thorsland said. “People will apply for licenses and there are many, many protections put in place.” Patterson said the vote should be beyond personal belief on the issue; it will be a reality once Jan. 1 hits. “People who live within those communities already do most of their shopping in Champaign-Urbana, whether it’s going to be a dispensary (or not),” Patterson said. “So the idea that not allowing dispensaries in those areas would prevent marijuana from being in those areas is just fundamentally illogical.” [email protected]
Legal cannabis was supposed to mean jobs and tax revenue as an enormous illicit market slowly gave way to regulated cultivation and sales.That may yet happen, but so far, both sales and the accompanying tax haul have been lower than promised. And with companies missing sales and revenue goals, that means layoffs for the worker. Multiple major brands in cannabis have announced cutting more than 10% of their workforces this fall. Joining software delivery platform Eaze and ad-platform Weedmaps, both of whom announced workforce cuts around 20% last month, are California brands Flow Kana, Cannacraft, and would-be national power player MedMen. On Nov. 14, Flow Kana CEO Michael Steinmetz told the Sacramento Bee that the company might cut up to 20% of its workforce. The next day, Culver City, California-based MedMen, confronting a $187 million deficit, said it would lay off 190 workers in order to save $10 million a year. (Only $177 million to go!) That continued what’s been an industry-wide trend or what some are calling “an epidemic.” “It almost feels like an epidemic…” Layoffs in cannabis companies up and down the state reflect challenges in #California’s fledgling recreational #cannabis industry: https://t.co/0wptGkiy7c @FlowKana h/t @andrewsheeler #ag #CACannabis #CAjobs #farming #jobs — CA Assoc of Counties (@CSAC_Counties) November 16, 2019 Grupo Flor, a diversified company with consumer brands and cultivation facilities in Monterey County, where industrial-scale cultivation is ongoing in greenhouses originally built for the floral industry, is shedding 35% of its workforce. CannaCraft, based in Santa Rosa and manufacturer of popular brands including the AbsoluteXtracts brand of vaporizer cartridges, said it would cut 16% of its staff, according to Marijuana Business Daily. PAX Labs, maker of the PAX Era vaporizer (and a company previously associated with embattled Juul, with which it shared a former parent company), also announced job cuts of 25% in October. Little of this should be surprising given the broader context. For months, especially in California, every indication is that the legal cannabis market has failed to meet initial projections. It’s a safe bet that companies took the state estimates into account when pitching investors and calculating growth and revenue and now that all of those numbers have come in smaller than hoped-for, companies are making the “necessary adjustments,” which in corporate speak means getting rid of workers. All companies cited the slow-to-develop legal market as the chief cause of their fiscal woes and subsequent layoff wave. According to an estimate from BDS Analytics and ArcView cited by Flow Kana’s Steinmetz, only one-quarter of Californians’ cannabis spending is captured by the legal market — a low number that’s remained flat since sales began in January 2018. This was not what was promised! “No one who worked on or voted for Prop. 64 would say that less than half of total sales is success,” Steinmetz wrote in a statement. “The combination of overtaxation, overly-complicated regulations, and lack or dispensaries due to local moratoriums have created significant imbalance in the biggest legal marijuana industry in the world.” According to an estimate published in the New York Times earlier this year, there were as many as 300,000 jobs in legal American cannabis. Most of them were low-paying, entry-level retail or agricultural jobs, but at least these jobs still existed. The woes are not limited to California, or to the United States. The layoff wave follows serious revenue projection misses by Canadian publicly traded companies. Can this be halted, or reversed? Maybe, but to do so will require a significant overhaul that isn’t coming anytime soon. California localities are still given broad powers to ban retail sales and many have. As Steinmetz told 60 Minutes on the CBS News program’s visit to Mendocino, there are more legal sales outlets in Oregon than in California. Lower taxes, direct-to-consumer sales moderated by the state? Maybe, but all of that would require action by the state Legislature and the annual lawmaking season is done until next year. That might be too late. The pessimists’ view was that legal cannabis was riding the wave of a bubble that popped, which means more pain could be on the way. TELL US, are you surprised that the cannabis industry in California is smaller than projected?
Westpac sources said the meeting had been set up months in advance. Dialling in: Westpac chairman Lindsay MaxstedCredit:Shakespeare Still, with pitchfork-wielding shareholders at the doorstep, every positive recommendation will count. As it stands, there is little enthusiasm about backing Hartzer’s bonuses or re-electing former Allens partner Ewen Crouch, the head of the board’s risk and compliance committee. With five directors up for election, Maxsted intends to dial in to Monday’s proxy advisory meeting. We’d have thought he’d be wearing out his Ferragamos up and down Sydney's Martin Place… OUTSIDE OF THE BOX The Liberals inside Melbourne’s Burwood branch found themselves in the headlines on Wednesday after electing LSD advocate Greg Kasarik as the branch’s new treasurer. Sadly on Thursday, senior branch members leaned on the former army tank driver to resign from his post, with a new treasurer to be appointed at the next branch meeting. Party officials including new state director Sam McQuestin declined to comment on the decision, as did former Burwood MP Graham Watt. Supporters of Kasarik in the branch, however, were quick to express their disappointment in the decision. After all, he’d been a member of the branch for almost two years. His antics are unconventional, they say - such as his decision to repeatedly take LSD on state parliament’s steps. But his cause is rooted in Liberal doctrine, apparently. Kasarik calls himself a campaigner for religious freedoms, arguing that LSD is a religious experience and vital for spirituality. And while the Liberals profess to be the party fostering freedom of thought, worship, speech and association, Thursday’s decision shows they’ll always draw the line somewhere. Just ask party veteran Andrew Robb, who revealed on Thursday he had joined the board of Mind Medicine Australia, a body researching the psychological benefits of medicinal psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms and ecstasy. Robb has been frank about his own battle with depression, and how medication he had used for nine years had suddenly ceased to work. But he’s not used psychedelics: “they’re illegal,” he said. PARLIAMENTARY PLUS ONES Silly season has arrived in the Canberra bubble. For the Capital’s most exclusive social grouping, the Parliamentary Partners Association, Christmas-time heralds the arrival of its popular end-of-year lunch as well as its annual general meeting. This year’s administrative showdown is set to be a doozy. Convenor Robyn Coulton is stepping down, along with secretary Teresa Ramsey, which will open up the floor to two new office bearers. Robyn is the wife of Nationals MP Mark Coulton, and Teresa is married to South Australian MP Rowan Ramsey. Charlotte Gillespie, who is married to Nationals MP David Gillespie, is treasurer and is staying on in the bean-counting role. So far, there are no nominations to take over the two top positions, but members are hopeful. Either way, the long-running association has supported partners of pollies to build friendships while they navigate a new life spent with one foot inside the Canberra bubble. And of course, there’s always the parties. This year the Christmas bash will be held at Canberra’s Rubicon Restaurant in Griffith, immediately after the AGM. LOTTA TORQUE ABOUT A CAR This week’s coverage of the state’s corruption watchdog hearing into planning decisions in the City of Casey has made much ado about minted developer John Woodman’s vehicle of choice - the Ferrari. The pre-occupation with Woodman’s flashy Italian sports car hasn’t been lost on readers, including subscriber Barry Brown who requested on Thursday that reporters covering the IBAC hearings also detail cars other people appearing in the hearing drive. (Brown himself volunteered that he drives a Magna manufactured in 2000.) But details of the Ferrari first came from Woodman himself. A series of articles printed in The Age in 2017 linked the developer to Italian mafia boss Antonio Madafferi, through a Greensborough development which Madafferi owned and Woodman consulted on. The articles also volunteered that Woodman drove a Porsche. The allegations were provocative and triggered a response at the time. But it wasn’t suggestions about his alleged links to the mafia that got Woodman’s back up. His only criticism conveyed to reporters was that he had upgraded to a Ferrari, and the Porsche was yesterday’s news. Presumably he’s now got bigger issues to fixate on. Samantha is the The Age's CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review. Kylar Loussikian is The Sydney Morning Herald's CBD columnist. Most Viewed in National Loading