Monthly Archives: June 2018

Hemp to the Future: U.S. and Canada Industrial Crops on the Rise

While enthusiasm around the legal cannabis business continues to build, the hemp industry may be poised for explosive growth as well.

For now, however, public equity investors have relatively few options for hemp compared to the availability of cannabis stocks on the OTC market, such as Canadian companies that trade in Canada and the U.S. and larger companies with some exposure to the booming legal cannabis investors.

More of an agricultural and industrial product, hemp fiber and seeds are used in a wide variety of products; in addition, the plant contains CBD, a cannabinoid that can be extracted. Its use gaining in popularity for its purported health benefits.

Hemp is a close relative of cannabis, but does not contain psychoactive properties that make you feel high. Despite that fact, federal law classifies it under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug.

New Report By New York City Police Department On Marijuana Criminalization

Cannabis PenaltiesThe new Report by the New York City Police Department’s “Working Group” is more window dressing than an actual policy change. It appears to be an elaborate 20-page rationalization to continue the present enforcement protocol without any real progress on the policing front. As of today, the policy continues to leave it to the relatively unfettered discretion in the hands of each officer to decide whether to issue a summons or, subject to a variety of exceptions, affect a full-blown arrest for the public consumption of marijuana. The continuation of this policy certainly is better than the old days in that those issued a summons are not fingerprinted and face only a maximum $100 fine for a first offense. But, that is not the policy that the citizens of New York want or need.

Historically, the Report cites a 66% decrease in marijuana-related arrests since changes of enforcement priority and practice dating back to 2014. The Report makes clear through statistics and graphs that despite the significant drop in arrests, those arrests continue to dramatically impact people of color who comprised 86.9% of all marijuana arrests and disproportionately continue to suffer the negative collateral consequences of such an arrest. It further cites other jurisdictions like Colorado and other legalized states that still have endemic racial disparity in arrest rates despite the law enforcement policy changes. Such statistical anomalies must be addressed since New York City’s change in enforcement priority dating …

Poll: Record Percentage Of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.

Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.

Seventy-three percent of respondents also expressed support for sealing the records of those previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses.

Commenting on the new poll results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “In an era of increasing partisanship, public support for ending cannabis criminalization is an issue that crosses party lines. More and more, elected officials – and those who wish to be elected – must acknowledge that advocating in favor of marijuana policy reform is a political opportunity, not a political liability.”

You can read more details about this poll HERE.

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/06/20/poll-record-percentage-of-americans-support-legalizing-marijuana/…

Summary of C-45, the Bill That Legalized Cannabis in Canada

Here’s the summary of Bill C-45, the legislation passed by Canada’s Parliament on June 19 that legalizes marijuana:

“This enactment enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale.

“The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.”

The Act

“(a) establishes criminal prohibitions such as the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including its sale or distribution to young persons, and the unlawful possession, production, importation and exportation of cannabis;

NORML Releases Comprehensive Report Summarizing Local Decriminalization Laws

Local Marijuana DecriminalizationEven though recreational marijuana remains criminalized in a majority of US states, more and more municipalities are moving ahead with local laws decriminalizing the possession of cannabis within city limits. For the first time, NORML has released a comprehensive breakdown of these citywide and countywide decriminalization policies.

Efforts to liberalize municipal marijuana possession penalties in states where cannabis remains criminalized have become increasingly popular in recent years. Since 2012, over 50 localities, such as Albuquerque, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and St. Louis in a dozen states — including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas — have enacted municipal laws or resolutions either fully or partially decriminalizing minor cannabis possession offenses. Today, over 10.5 million Americans reside in these localities. (Please note: This total does not include cities or counties in states that have either legalized or decriminalized marijuana statewide).

Click here to see the full breakdown of localities that have decriminalized marijuana

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri: “Local politicians see firsthand the punitive and disproportionately adverse effects that statewide marijuana criminalization has on their communities and upon their constituents. That is why they are exercising their local legislative powers to protect citizens in their community when state politicians are either unwilling or lack the political courage to do so.”

DECRIMINALIZATION EXPLAINED

Under full decriminalization, minor offenses are defined by statute as either non-criminal violations or infractions. Violators are not subject to arrest. Instead, they are cited and mandated to pay

Now That Canada Has Legalized Cannabis, Celebrate at ICBC Vancouver

With the passage of the Senate bill C-45 on June 19, Canada officially legalized marijuana.

Canada is the second country to make such a move. Uruguay legalized it in 2013.

“Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

The margin in favor was an overwhelming 52 to 29, with two abstentions. The bill gives provinces eight to 12 weeks to begin selling marijuana commercially. Originally, the plan was to launch on July 1, but the legislation forced a delay.

ICBC Vancouver at Sheraton Wall Centre is scheduled for June 24-25.

It’s the perfect time to …

Texas GOP Platform Now Contains for Cannabis Related Planks

Texas GOP Platform Now Supports Decriminalization, Re-Scheduling, Hemp and an Inclusive Medical Program

Republican Delegates at the State Convention in San Antonio succeeded in updating the Texas GOP platform to include planks that support making the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) more inclusive, removal of criminal penalty for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, the re-scheduling of and growing industrial hemp in Texas. This took a powerful effort from the grassroots, delegates and Republicans in advance of the convention and during the long, multi-step process it takes to approve and adopt planks to the Republican Platform.

Here is what happened over the week leading up to these planks adoption:

  • Monday night before the convention, the Criminal and Civil Justice Sub Committee passed a resolution to remove criminal penalties for possession of 1 ounce or less. The Health and Human Service Sub Committee passed a resolution to improve TCUP.
  • On Tuesday, the Legislative Priorities Committee (LPC) met to determine the top legislative priorities for the next session. The Committee took testimony from 15 people include sitting Representative Jason Issac.
  • When the Temporary Platform Committee (TPC) issued their report on Wednesday, it included both of the planks. Additionally, the LPC took an informal poll and medical cannabis was in the top ten. They would ultimately adopt 8 priorities and medical cannabis unfortunately did not make the cut.
  • Thursday the Permanent Platform Committee considered the TPC report. The final report

Canada: Lawmakers Reconcile and Pass Historic Marijuana Legalization Legislation

Members of the Canadian House and Senate have reconciled and given final approval to C-45, sweeping legislation amending the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act so that those over the age of 18 may legally possess, purchase, and grow personal use quantities of cannabis.

Majorities of both chambers had previously approved slightly different versions of the measure. Today, Senate lawmakers voted 52-29 to concur with the House’s final version of the bill. According to the BBC, “the bill will likely receive Royal Assent this week, and the government will then choose an official date when the law will come into force.” The new law is anticipated to take effect by mid-September, at which time licensed cannabis retailers are expected to be operational.

The Act permits those age 18 and older to legally possess and purchase personal use amounts of marijuana or marijuana-infused products from licensed sellers. Households will also be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants for personal use. Commercial marijuana production will be licensed by the federal government, while retail distribution of marijuana will be regulated by individual provinces. A Senate amendment that sought to allow provinces to limit or prohibit personal cultivation was ultimately rejected by members of the House. The new law will not amend Canada’s existing medical cannabis access regulations, which permit registered patients to grow or purchase cannabis from authorized licensed producers.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri praised the …

Recreational Cannabis Store Openings Delayed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission, tasked last June by the legislature and governor to draft and implement the establishment of a retail cannabis industry approved by Bay State voters in 2016, publicly indicated for the first-time last week that their self-directed date to open non-medical cannabis retail outlets of July 1 will not be realized.

The CCC will not issue licenses to cultivate, process or sell cannabis by July 1, explaining that the Commission’s intent is to avoid a specific date for implementation of rushed, mistake-laden employee background checks, consumer chaos and confusion and product inventory problems that incurred in the six previous states that have created commercial markets for cannabis  (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada and California).

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission director Steve Hoffman: “We’re going to do this right.”

At a meeting on June 15, the CCC acknowledged that nearly 1,100 applications for cannabis-related businesses had been received by the state since the application process officially opened on June 1. However, only 53 applications had been fully completed (most of the first 28 applicants are, unsurprisingly, retail medical cannabis companies already operating in Massachusetts). The next meeting is scheduled for June 19.

CCC director Steve Hoffman says the Commission wants to maximize efforts to have safe, compliant and uniformly regulated cannabis retail shops across the entire state and not rush to hit an arbitrary deadline. “We’re going to do this right,” he stated. “If that means we have …

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Vote Is One Week Away

In just seven days, voters in Oklahoma will have the opportunity to decide in favor of providing much-needed medical marijuana access to patients.
State Question 788 will appear on the June 26 ballot. Under this plan, physicians — not lawmakers — will have the final say on making health care decisions involving the use of medical cannabis.
Specifically,
* State Question 788 permits doctors to use their discretion to decide which patients are best treated by medical cannabis;
* It also empowers patients by permitting them to grow their own personal use quantities of medical cannabis;
* Those patients who do not not wish to grow their own medicine may obtain cannabis flower, or other types of cannabis-infused products, at licensed dispensaries.
In January, NORML wholeheartedly endorsed the passage of SQ 788. That is because this measure is one of the broadest, most patient-centric medical marijuana initiatives ever placed on a statewide ballot.
But passage of SQ 788 is not assured. In recent days, opponents have purchased nearly a half-million dollars in misleading television advertisements to persuade voters to reject SQ 788.
Voters like you must stand up to their fear-mongering and false claims. In truth, the passage of SQ 788 will provide needed relief to tens of thousands of Oklahomans in a manner similar to the laws of 30 other states.

Legislation To Protect Legal Consumption In Federal Housing Introduced

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has introduced legislation to protect state-lawful marijuana users from housing discrimination.

Entitled the “Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2018,”  the legislation includes protections for consumers in both medical and adult use states. It states, “A public housing agency or an owner of federally assisted housing may not establish standards prohibiting admission to the program or federally assisted housing to any household with a member who engages in the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marihuana… in compliance with the law of the State in which such use, distribution, possession, or cultivation takes place.”

Under the current federal policy, those who consume any controlled substance defined as illegal under federal law, including medical marijuana, are prohibited from being admitted to federally assisted housing. Federal law also allows landlords to evict current residents based on their use of marijuana for any purposes, including the use of medical cannabis by state-qualified patients.

You can contact your Representative and urge their support for this measure by clicking here. 

 

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/06/19/legislation-to-protect-legal-consumption-in-federal-housing-introduced/…

Quality Plans for Lab Services: Managing Risks as a Grower, Processor or Dispensary, Part 2

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s opinions based on his experience working in the laboratory industry. This is an opinion piece in a series of articles designed to highlight the potential problems that clients may run into with labs. 


In the previous article, I discussed the laboratory’s first line of defense (e.g. certification or accreditation) when a grower, processor or dispensary (user) questions a laboratory result. Now let us look behind this paperwork wall to the laboratory culture the user will encounter once their complaint is filtered past the first line of defense.

It is up to the client (processor, grower or dispensary) to determine the quality of the lab they use.In an ISO 17025 (2005 or 2017) and TNI accreditation, the laboratory must be organized into management, quality and technical areas. Each area can overlap as in the ISO 17025-2017 standard or be required to remain as separate sections in the laboratory as in the ISO 17025-2005 or TNI 2009 standards. ISO 17025 standards (e.g. 2005 and 2017) specifically require a separation of monetary benefits for laboratory results as it applies to the technical staff. This “conflict of interest” (CoI) is not always clearly defined in the laboratory’s day-to-day practices.

One example that I have experienced with this CoI separation violation goes back to my days as a laboratory troubleshooter in the 1990s. I was called into a laboratory that was failing …

Smoking Weed Legally Could Still Get You Fired

Weed legalization in Canada is going to have a profound effect on the workplace and will likely lead to lawsuits over dismissals, experts tell VICE. Eric Madore was relieved. The 28-year-old Collingwood, Ontario resident had finally landed a job that was manageable given his many health issues, including severe liver disease. But he’d only been working a day as a school bus driver when he said he was fired over his choice of medication. Madore…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/06/18/smoking-weed-legally-could-still-get-you-fired…

New York: State-Commissioned Report Will Recommend Legalizing Marijuana

Legalize MarijuanaA forthcoming report commissioned by the Governor’s office is set to recommend that lawmakers legalize and regulate the possession and sale of marijuana by adults.

According to statements made today by New York State health commissioner Howard Zucker, the report’s authors have concluded that “a regulated, legal marijuana program [ought to] be available to adults in the state.”

“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Mr. Zucker said, adding, “We have new facts.”

A finalized version of the Health Department study is anticipated to be released imminently.

The health commissioner’s statements come just weeks after an analysis prepared by the New York City Comptroller’s office concluded that the state of New York would gain an estimated $434 million annually in new tax revenue under a regulated adult use marijuana market.

Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, in the past, has been reticent to publicly support calls to regulate the adult marijuana use market in New York state — stating that he is “unconvinced” that legalizing is a preferable public policy to criminalization.

During today’s remarks, health commissioner Zucker also indicated that the Department is moving to expand medical cannabis access to those using opioids. Under the new regulations, those with chronic pain wishing to use cannabis as a substitute for opiates will be able to do so. “[T]hat means if an individual is taking prescription opioids, they …

Poor Roger Stone Reduced to Begging for Donations Online

Roger Stone (left) and Michael Caputo (right) met with a Russian national in 2016.

Embattled Trump loyalist Roger Stone is among Robert Mueller’s targets as the special counsel continues his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

On June 17, it was revealed that Stone and former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo took a meeting in May 2016 with a Russian national in hopes of securing information harmful to Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Stone and Caputo conveniently did not remember attending the meeting. However, during his recent interview with Mueller, Caputo’s “recollection was refreshed regarding one brief interaction with a Russian national in May of 2016,” according to a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes sent by Caputo’s attorney.

“In the course of his interview with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, this specific contact was not discussed since at the time of this interview, Mr. Caputo had simply forgotten about this brief encounter in 2016,” the attorney added.

Don’t Call it a Dispensary- Why Michigan Takes Marijuana Semantics Seriously

By Lauren Williams for Marijuana.com

“… It is critical that patients have clarity as to where they can obtain medicine,” said David Mangone, director of governmental affairs and counsel for the non-profit Americans for Safe Access. “It is too early to tell if this will adversely affect patient access. However, banning terms like prescription is good policy, because doctors can’t actually write prescriptions for medical cannabis under federal law, only provide recommendations.”

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/don_t_call_it_a_dispensary_why_michigan_takes_marijuana_semantics_seriously…

June Swoon: A Stoned Bride Is a Happy Bride

As American society evolves, can the concept of marriage evolve too? After my discussion with one punk-rock bride who opted to smoke pot at her recent wedding, it may be time to revisit our stereotypes.

Congratulations on your recent marriage. What was the planning process like?

It’s a rabbit hole. For instance, my mother-in-law was convinced that square tables would ruin the wedding. Apparently, round tables are more “intimate.” I knew everyone was going to get drunk and dance, and no one was going to care about the goddamn table shape. That’s when I realized planning a wedding isn’t about me or my partner’s love for each other, it’s about the fucking party.

Why didn’t you just elope then?

Trust me, that was our first thought. But family excitement won out and we decided to endure the craziness. So we went ahead knowing the wedding was for them, but the marriage is for us. We got really good at saying no to just about everything.

“I never thought of myself as a stereotypical anything, let alone bride.”

Where was the wedding?

It was outdoors, at a lakeside in the mountains in Pennsylvania, all DIY. It seemed fitting because we spent a ton of time up there working on an old cabin, a teardown we fixed room by room.

UN Drug Committee Declares Cannabis Is An Effective, ‘Relatively Safe Drug’

By Steve Elliott for Herb

“The current international policies on cannabis use are outdated and are having a detrimental impact on patients in the US and worldwide,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “These policies do not reflect the reality of over 30 countries globally that have passed medical cannabis laws.”

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/un_drug_committee_declares_cannabis_is_an_effective_relatively_safe_drug…

Former Missouri Supreme Court Cheif Justice Endorses Medical Marijuana Initiative

Former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice and former Dean of the St. Louis University Law School, Michael A. Wolff, will speak in support of the New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative at a marijuana law reform conference which will take place at the St. Charles Opera House, 311 N. Main Street, in St. Charles this Saturday, June 16. Judge Wolff is a professor emeritus of law at St. Louis University and a highly respected legal scholar.

Preceding his remarks at 4:00 p.m., there will be a full day of fascinating speakers. Mr. Paul Armentano, national Deputy Director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will speak at 3:00 p.m. Mr. Armentano is one of the nation’s most knowledgeable and articulate experts on the science of medical marijuana. He will speak about how the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 other states has dramatically reduced opioid overdose and provided relief from suffering to thousands of Americans.

At 2:00 p.m., the leader of the St. Louis NAACP, Mr. Adolphus Pruitt, will speak, followed by Mr. Tom Mundell at 2:20 p.m. Mr. Mundell is the former commander of the Missouri Association of Veterans’ Organizations (MAVO). He is a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran.

At 2:40 p.m., Mr. Jeff Mizanskey will speak. Jeff was sentenced to serve life without possibility of parole for minor marijuana offenses. He has no other criminal convictions. After serving more than 21 years in prison, his …