Cannabis News Roundup

A Selection of Cannabis News from Around the Net.


Cannabis News Round-up 2018

A selection of Cannabis News items from around the internet that have recently crossed our screens.  Note that the links to the full articles were current when thy were added to this page... due to the nature of the internet, the links may have changed.


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JANUARY 2018  

Marijuana legalization is succeeding and other states should follow Vermont's example
Recently Governor Phil Scott signed H.511 into law, making Vermont the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so through a state legislature.
Vermont's new law comes only weeks after Atorney General Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance limiting federal interference with state marijuana programs. Whether Sessions likes it or not, the federal government cannot prevent states from legalizing marijuana. Even if he could stop them, it would be bad policy - and bad politics.


Feds invest $1.4 million in cannabis research projects as part of legalization push

The federal government has announced a $1.4 million investment in cannabis< research as the July 1 deadline to legalize the drug inches closer. Member of Parliament Bill Blair made the announcement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Wednesday, where some of the research is taking place.
Blair said that the money will support 14 research projects across the country that he said will be carried out over the next year. He said that some of the work has been "ongoing for some period of time" and will ultimately help to inform "public education campaigns" and the training that is given to police as cannabis is legalized.

Colorado Wants to Track Weed With Chemicals and the Blockchain
Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would explore "marijuana tracking technology" that can be added to the plant itself to allow law enforcement to trace a plant back to its grower.
The bill would require a local cannabis research school to develop this marijuana-tracking technology, using either chemical agents, isotopes, nanotechnology, or other biological identifiers. It could even implement a distributed ledger or blockchain to encrypt it.

France looks set to soften its laws on smoking cannabis
France's fight against cannabis, through tough laws to punish users, has long been a failure -- the French remain among Europe's biggest dope smokers. So will a change of strategy under President Emmanuel Macron have more success?
And the new centrist government is preparing to soften legislation, making users caught with cannabis liable for an instant fine of € 150-200 instead of prosecution and the threat of a one-year jail term.
Users currently also face fines of up to € 3,750.

State Senator introduces bill that would legalize marijuana
Alison Lundergan Grimes was determined to make 2018 the year for medicinal marijuana legislation in Kentucky. One Republican legislator is looking to hit the gas pedal and push that idea even further.
This past week in Frankfort, State Senator Dan Seum of Fairdale, Ky. - who represents Bullitt County and a portion of Jefferson County in Senate District 38 - introduced enate Bill 80, which seeks to allow full and regulated cannabis use in Kentucky.

Legal Marijuana Stores Could Boost The Price Of Your House: Study
While Ontario landlords are looking to ban marijuana use in their rental units and several municipalities don't want legal cannabis stores in their neighbourhoods, a U.S. study suggests that pot could lift property values.
Property prices for homes in Colorado close to shops that converted to recreational marijuana from medical marijuana in 2014 saw a roughly eight per cent boost, the study by professors based in Wisconsin, Georgia, and California found.

Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol, Tobacco Or Sugar, Americans Say In New Poll
Americans think marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, tobacco or sugar. That's according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Friday.
When asked in a survey which substance is most harmful to health, 41 percent chose tobacco, 24 percent said alcohol and 21 percent flagged sugar.
Just nine percent believe cannabis is the most dangerous of the four options.
The poll also asked about American's views on legalizing marijuana in their state, with 60 percent saying they would favor the policy.

Welsh government votes to legalize medical cannabis
A majority of Welsh assembly members have voted in favour of legalizing medical cannabis.
Assembly members expressed concern that some people who are using cannabis to help with illness are putting themselves at risk of prosecution.
They say the clinical and anecdotal evidence on its benefits for patients is "compelling" and want the NHS in Wales to be able to make it available via a prescription.
Welsh Conservative AM Mark Isherwood, Labour AM Mike Hedges, and Plaid AMs Ms. Wood and Rhun ap Iorwerth called for the debate on Wednesday claiming that there is clinical evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis when used for medicinal purposes.

Medical cannabis is safe, says WHO
Advocates of medical marijuana in the Philippines found an unexpected ally in the World Health Organization (WHO) when it announced that the use of the substance benefits humans and animals without the risk of addiction.
WHO, the international public health agency of the United Nations, officially recommended on Dec. 14 that cannabidiol (CBD), the relaxant roperty of cannabis used in medical marijuana, "not be internationally scheduled as a controlled substance."

The Future of Weed Science Is a Van in Colorado
You enter the University of Colorado Boulder's newest research laboratory through the side entrance. The door-which is heavy and white, with a black, jug-style handle-slides open from right to left. Crammed inside are a plain wooden dresser, two chairs, and a small desk, above which someone has taped a mediocre landscape-print (mountains, trees, clouds, etc.). A kaleidoscopic purple tapestry hangs from the far wall. The ceiling slings so low that it forces some visitors to duck, and the flooring is made of wood. Well, wood laminate.
The modest setup occupies just a few dozen square feet of space-a tight but necessary fit, given that CU Boulder's newest research laboratory is located not in a building on the university's campus, but the back of a Ram ProMaster cargo van.

Should US marijuana laws address past drug convictions?
Christopher Dean Smith was arrested on a marijuana farm in northern California in 2014.
Smith, now 28, said he was with a friend on the property in the town of Chico, about 145km north of Sacramento, when two vehicles pulled up. Federal law enforcement agents approached the pair and told them to get on the ground.
Smith was arrested and accused of cultivation of marijuana plants and possession with intent to sell a controlled substance.

800,000 doctors partner with a cannabis company to educate America about marijuana
Just as California enters its new year with wide-ranging marijuana legalization, a new partnership has been formed between a popular social network specializing in online medical communities and the pro-cannabis media outlet, The Fresh Toast.
The partnership between The Fresh Toast and Skipta, which describes itself as "the leading social network of specialized online medical communities for verified healthcare professionals," is intended to allow patients seeking medical marijuana treatment options to receive advice from qualified medical professionals. Skipta's social network includes 800,000 medical professionals, 600,000 of whom are physicians.

Boxer Mike Tyson opens massive marijuana farm
Former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson is reportedly opening a California cannabis ranch to celebrate the state's legalisation of recreational marijuana.
In a remote town of 15,000 people southwest of Death Valley, Tyson has opened up 40 acres of land at a cannabis farm called Tyson Ranch, the Daily Record reported.
Tyson is reportedly a longtime believer in medical marijuana and the Tyson Ranch will devote 20 acres to its cultivation, with research also carried out to develop its clinical uses.

Here's What You Should Know About Canada's Emerging Weed Industry
The year ahead is a pivotal one in Canada's economic history. The legalization of recreational cannabis "next summer" will usher in a globally competitive, sophisticated and lucrative new sector.
While most Canadians are now familiar with the expected economic scale of the cannabis sector - an estimated base market of $8.7 billion and an ancillary market of over $22.6 billion - the business trends shaping the Canadian cannabis sector are still relatively unknown to those outside the industry, but important to know as legalization approaches.

Legalizing Marijuana Nationwide Would Create One Million Jobs, Study Says
Legalizing marijuana nationwide would create more than one million new jobs within the next decade, a new study says. Analysis from New Frontier Data, a firm that focuses on the marijuana industry, also found that the federal government would create at least $131.8 billion in federal tax revenue over the next eight years if cannabis were legalized in all 50 states.
With federal legalization, there would be 782,000 jobs created immediately, and the firm forecasts that the number would increase to 1.1 million by 2025, including growers and retailers.

Why Jeff Sessions's marijuana crackdown is going to make legalization more likely
Jeff Sessions hates marijuana. Hates it, with a passion that has animated almost nothing else in his career. "Good people don't smoke marijuana," he has said. He even once said about the Ku Klux Klan, "I thought those guys were okay until I learned they smoked pot."
He says that was a joke, but even so, it still says something about where he's coming from. So if you're wondering why Sessions has endured the humiliation of being demeaned and abused by President Trump and stayed on as attorney general, one big answer is the policy change he announced this week, that he is rescinding an Obama-era directive that instructed federal prosecutors not to prioritize prosecuting businesses like dispensaries in states that had legalized cannabis.

Marijuana Tax: How Colorado is spending its cannabis tax revenue
Five years ago, in November 2012, the American state of Colorado made headlines worldwide for legalizing recreational marijuana through Constitutional Amendment 64 (State Constitution). Colorado had already legalized medical marijuana 12 years before that in 2000 through Constitutional Amendment 20. Despite initial (and still-existing) fears and strong opposition, the legalization of marijuana has created another massive source of tax revenue for the state, securing over $100 million annually. So how does Colorado spend all this "drug money"?

The Tragically Hip, Weed Millionaires, Back Cannabis Merger
Newstrike Resources Ltd. says the Tragically Hip are backing the company's deal to be acquired by CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. The band is a creative partner and shareholder in Newstrike, the company says.
According to a report in the Globe and Mail, the Hip own a 5.4-per-cent stake in Newstrike. Even with a steep drop in the price of Newstrike stock this week, the band's share of the company is worth an estimated $39 million.

Legal marijuana cuts violence says US study, as medical-use laws see crime fall
The introduction of medical marijuana laws has led to a sharp reduction in violent crime in US states that border Mexico, according to new research. According to the study, Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations?
The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime, when a state on the Mexican border legalised medical use of the drug, violent crime fell by 13% on average. Most of the marijuana consumed in the US originates in Mexico, where seven major cartels control the illicit drug trade.

New Bill in Congress Would Ban Federal Cannabis Enforcement in Legal States
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has had cannabis in his crosshairs since even before he took office, but his first formal shot at legalization - the decision last week to rescind the Cole memo - looks more and more like it could backfire.
On Friday, a California congresswoman introduced a US House bill that would protect state-legal cannabis from "excessive federal enforcement." Specifically, it would forbid federal agencies from spending money to "detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, business or property, that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or use of cannabis "when those actions comply with state law or local regulations.

Canadian Marijuana Jobs: Companies Looking To Fill Roles Ahead Of Legalization
Canadian marijuana companies are on a hiring spree, looking to fill an array of roles as they gear up for the legalization of recreational cannabis later this year. The workforce is booming, said Alison McMahon, who runs Cannabis At Work, a staffing agency focused on the burgeoning industry. Right now, she's recruiting for positions in everything from growing and production to sales and marketing, all across the country.

Three Pharmaceutical Drugs Prove Cannabis Has Medicinal Value
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and anti-cannabis activists like to claim that marijuana has no proven value as a medicine. Both the FDA and the DEA have resisted approval or funding for trials using actual marijuana.
If marijuana has no medicinal value, why are there three FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs based on marijuana with usage histories dating as far back as 1985?


America Mourns Passing of Dennis Peron, Father of Medical Marijuana
Numerous reports out of San Francisco are confirming the passing of Dennis Peron, 72, the legendary cannabis activist who kindled America's medical marijuana revolution in the 1980s. As a leading figure in San Francisco's gay culture and cannabis underground in the 1970s and 1980s, Peron was one of the first to realize the health benefits cannabis offered to those battling AIDS in the heart of the crisis that overtook that city in the late 1980s.

Marijuana Prices Are Falling in Canada Before Legalization
Canadian marijuana prices are tumbling as supplies rise, an indication profits for producers in the soon-to-be-legal market may be slimmer than previously thought. The average cost per gram fell 7.7 percent in 2017 from a year earlier, the steepest drop in a decade, according to data published Thursday by Statistics Canada. Recreational users may be free to indulge themselves as soon as July.

From Prohibition to Progress: A Status Report on Marijuana Legalization
On November 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states - and first two places in the world - to legalize marijuana for adult use. Two years later Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. followed suit. In 2016 voters in four additional states - California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada - also approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana. In January 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through a state legislature.
More states are expected to legalize in the near future. Evidence shows that marijuana legalization is working so far. States are saving money and protecting the public by comprehensively regulating marijuana for adult use. This success has likely contributed to the historically high levels of public support for marijuana legalization in the U.S., which has steadily grown to an all-time high of 64%. The majority of Americans - including 51% of Republicans - now support marijuana legalization.

New York lawmakers want to fight opioid crisis with medical marijuana
State lawmakers are looking to medical marijuana to help combat the epidemic of opioid addiction. Legislation introduced this month in both the Senate and Assembly would expand the legal uses of medical marijuana in New York to include opioid addiction treatment. "We have an opioid crisis and people are dying and this may be a path to keep people from dying and keep them from relapsing," said Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell (D-Manhattan), who introduced the measure. O'Donnell and other supporters of the bill say medical marijuana can be an effective weapon against many symptoms recovering addicts experience, including nausea and anxiety.

Vermont Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
Effective July 1, 2018, adults who are 21 years and older will be allowed to cultivate, possess and consume marijuana in Vermont. Vermont is now the ninth state (along with Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, California, Massachusetts and Maine) to "legalize" recreational marijuana use. Marijuana use and possession, however, remains illegal under federal law.

U.S. tobacco seller buys majority stakes in PEI and Ontario cannabis companies
in what may be first for industry U.S. tobacco company Alliance One International Inc. has entered the cannabis market with the acquisition of two Canadian companies, marking what appears to be the first foray by a large publicly traded tobacco company into the Canadian marijuana industry. Alliance's wholly owned subsidiary Canadian Cultivated Products, Ltd. has purchased a 75 per cent stake in Prince Edward Island-based Canada's Island Garden Inc. and an 80 per cent stake in Ontario-based Goldleaf Pharm Inc., the company announced in a press release on Thursday that accompanied its Q2 earnings.

Maine becomes first state to protect marijuana use outside of work
Beginning today, employers in Maine are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their marijuana or marijuana by-product use outside of work, attorneys at Littler Mendelson report. Maine's Labor Department also removed the drug from the list of substances for which employers may test applicants.

Marijuana sales just topped annual liquor sales for the first time in Aspen
There was plenty of green to go around among Aspen's marijuana dispensaries in 2017, and more than enough to top liquor stores in revenue, as well. Legal-pot purveyors hauled in $11.3 million in revenue last year compared with $10.5 million for liquor stores, marking the first time marijuana sales outpaced booze for the year in Aspen. The figures were provided Wednesday by the city's Finance Department in its year-end sales tax report for 2017.

Gibson: Legalizing marijuana is Democrats' key to 2018 elections
With so many strong candidates vying to unseat incumbent Republicans in the Legislature, Texas Democrats have a wind at their backs this election season that they haven't felt in decades. What they don't have at this point is a unifying message to fully unfurl their sails. They should try embracing legal marijuana as a cornerstone campaign issue.

Texas' current pot laws are medieval and arguably the most severe in the country.
Possession of anything less than two ounces - even just a gram - is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and as much as $2,000 in fines. This is a costly burden on taxpayers, with the American Civil Liberties Union estimating that the entire booking process, from arrest to incarceration, for marijuana possession cases alone cost taxpayers more than $250 million in 2010.

Alcohol 'more damaging to brain health than marijuana'
With marijuana legalization on the rise, an increasing number of studies are exploring the drug's potential harms and benefits. However, a new study suggests that when it comes to brain health, alcohol is more damaging. Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a review of existing imaging data that looked at the effects of alcohol and marijuana, or cannabis, on the brain. Their findings linked alcohol consumption with long-term changes to the structure of white matter and gray matter in the brain. The use of marijuana, however, seemed to have no significant long-term effects on brain structure.

LCBO Teams Up With Shopify For Ontario Online Weed Sales
The Ontario government has inked a deal to use Shopify Inc.'s e-commerce platform for cannabis sales online and in stores as part of its plan to be the province's sole distributor of legal recreational marijuana. The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, will use the Ottawa-based company's online store software for its online and mobile sales portal.

The Dark, Industrial Side of Large-Scale Cannabis Production [REVEALED]
To say that the legal marijuana industry is on an upward spiral is a gross understatement. There are now nine states (plus D.C) where it is legal to use weed on a recreational basis, and 29 states where it is allowed for medicinal use. Marijuana has officially gone mainstream with anywhere between 30 million and 55 million adults currently using for one reason or another. Also, 56% of Americans now believe that smoking weed is socially acceptable, and retail sales of cannabis was around $6.5 billion in 2017 - a figure set to grow to an astounding $30 billion by 2021.

Bernie Sanders Launches Marijuana Petition
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is asking his supporters to pressure Congress to legalize marijuana and end the broader "war on drugs." In an email sent to the former (and possibly future) presidential candidate's campaign e-mail list on Wednesday night, the senator wrote that the federal government's anti-cannabis approach is "an issue of grave consequence." Citing racial disparities in enforcement, Sanders said that "marijuana prohibition is part of a larger failed war on drugs that has led to the great national crisis of mass incarceration." He's asking supporters to sign an online petition calling on federal lawmakers to treat drugs as a health issue instead of a crime and "invest in programs that focus on treatment and prevention."

House passes medical marijuana bill that lets Utah grow weed for terminally ill patients

The Utah House of Representatives passed a resurrected bill that would make the state grow medical marijuana for terminally ill patients. House Bill 197, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, died on a narrow vote last week but was resurrected on Tuesday. He insisted the legislation was a necessary companion to House Bill 195, which gives terminally ill patients a "right to try" medical marijuana.
"This bill becomes the way to supply a genuine cannabis medicine for both those programs. We need to pass this bill if we want to have patients the ability to try both under right to try and under research," he told his colleagues in the House.

NM takes steps toward legalizing at age 21
A bill to legalize marijuana in the state of New Mexico crossed its first hurdle as a legislative committee voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana for adults. The resolution would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and up and for regulation of the production, sale and taxation of cannabis in New Mexico.

Lawmakers Consider Lowering Number Of Marijuana Plants Mainers Can Grow For Personal Use
Maine's recreational marijuana law allows adults to grow up to six flowering plants for personal and recreational use - but the legislative committee that's overhauling the law is trying to cut that allotment by half. Supporters of the proposal under consideration say it would give municipalities more flexibility to craft their own home-grow rules. They also say that the larger limit of six plants creates extra supply, which could potentially find its way onto the black market, especially if out-of-state traffickers pay Maine landowners to cultivate on their property.

How High? Researchers Say 25% of Canada's Population Uses Cannabis
The authors believe the 5,000-sample size of randomly selected Canadians adults(18+) is accurate within a margin of error of 1.5% and represents both demographic and geographic variables correctly. By way of computer-assisted phone calls, people were asked 75 questions while providing information on the state of the cannabis industry in Canada.

Alfie Dingley: Mum criticises decision to deny cannabis treatment for son with severe epilepsy
The mother of a seriously ill six-year-old boy has condemned a Government decision to deny him a potentially life-changing cannabis treatment. Alfie Dingley, from Warwickshire, has a rare and extreme form of epilepsy and can suffer up to 30 seizures a day.
His parents want to treat him with cannabis oil, which is illegal in the UK. In September, Hannah Deacon and Drew Dingley took their son to the Netherlands so he could take a cannabis-based medicine prescribed by a paediatric neurologist. They said this reduced his seizures in number, duration and severity.

How Much Money is the U.S. Government Making by Keeping Weed Illegal?
Marijuana has only been illegal for about 1% of its entire history. Unfortunately, it comprises the last 100 years or so and the American Government, along with many others around the world, continues to resist calls to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances under the 1970 act.
Why does the U.S. Government insist on keeping weed legal? Politicians pretend that there is a moral issue at play. This is hard to believe when successive governments allow easy access to firearms capable of firing hundreds of rounds a minute, deadly opioids, tobacco, and alcohol. As you probably know, the real reason for ensuring cannabis remains illegal is 'dirty cash'. While predictable, it is not a straightforward situation as we explain below.

Cannabis Associated with Immune Cell Frequency Reduction in ART-Treated HIV Patients
A recent study found that cannabis use is associated with a potentially beneficial reduction in systemic inflammation and immune activation in the context of antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated HIV-infected individuals. Findings concluded that heavy cannabis use, as defined by plasma quantity of THC-COOH, was associated with decreased frequencies of activated T cells and inflammatory antigen-presenting cell subsets, which suggests a potential immunologic benefit of cannabinoids through decreased immune activation in HIV-infected individuals.


MARCH 2018  

Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Scientific Paper:

Here's how many people died, got hospitalized, or were arrested at the world's biggest cannabis festival - The Emerald Cup 2017
Zero. The answer is zero. Zero people died, got hospitalized or were arrested at the world's largest outdoor organic cannabis festival - The Emerald Cup - which was held on December 9 and 10. You didn't think it was going to be higher, did you? That's understandable. Critics publicly wring their hands about potential public safety issues at cannabis lounges or festivals. They're worried about people overdoing it on edibles, or having some other type of adverse reaction. But the history of the worlds biggest such event indicates such concerns may be overblown.

Cronos Group, Based In Toronto, Is First Pot Company To List On A U.S. Exchange
Cronos Group Inc. is set to become the first Canadian cannabis company to have shares listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The Toronto-based firm says it expects common shares will begin trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "CRON."

Medical cannabis study shows significant number of patients saw pain reduction of 30 percent or more
Medical cannabis study shows significant number of patients saw pain reduction of 30 percent or more. Forty-two percent of Minnesota's patients taking medical cannabis for intractable pain reported a pain reduction of thirty percent or more, according to a new study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health.

New studies show that legal cannabis access reduces opioid abuse
Scientific data is growing nearly by the day in support of the notion that legalized cannabis can mitigate opioid use and abuse. For instance, among states where medical cannabis access is permitted, patients routinely lessen their opioid intake. According to data published this week by the Minnesota Department of Health, among those patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent "were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months."

If marijuana is legalized, cancer patients will choose it as their preferred medicine
If marijuana is legalized, cancer patients will choose it as their preferred medicine, according to a new survey from one of the nation's leading cancer research facilities. A team of researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, based in Seattle, Wash., surveyed 926 cancer patients and found that roughly 25 percent of them used cannabis as a medicinal therapy in the past year. Theresults were published on Monday in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Will legal marijuana kill the employment drug test?
Employers are struggling to hire workers in tightening U.S. job market. Marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., meaning more than one in five American adults can eat, drink, smoke or vape as they please. The result is the slow decline of pre-employment drug tests, which for decades had been a requirement for new recruits in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance. As of the beginning of 2018, Excellence Health Inc., a Las Vegas-based health care company with around 6,000 employees, no longer drug tests people coming to work for the pharmaceutical side of the business. The company stopped testing for marijuana two years ago.

Portugal's Largest Political Party Endorses Cannabis Legalisation
The Social Democratic Party (PSD), the largest party in the Portuguese Parliament, has endorsed the legal regulation of cannabis. TalkingDrugs spoke with the MP behind the motion. The PSD holds more parliamentary seats than any other party, but remains in opposition due to the ruling Socialist Party's alliance with several smaller left-wing parties.

Which Country Produces the Most Legal Cannabis? Surprise! It's the United Kingdom!
Admittedly, I never saw this coming. I pride myself in staying on top of cannabis happenings around the world, but had to do a double take when I read the headline myself. According to a report by the UN's International Narcotics Control Board, the UK produced almost half of the world's legal cannabis in 2016 at a whopping 95 tons of production, followed by Canada's 80.7 tons of production, with Portugal and Israel trailing at 21 tons and 9.2 tons respectively. Chile and the Netherlands each producing 1.4 tons of legal cannabis that same year. Wait? What? How can this be the case in a country which doesn't have a legal adult-use market nor even recognize the medical efficacy of cannabis?

Estonian district votes to get cannabis leaf flag
The Kanepi municipality in southeast Estonia was created last July through the merger of three previously separate districts ;and as a result of the local government shake-up, residents were given the chance to vote on a new symbol to represent the district, state broadcaster ERR says. The overwhelmingly popular choice among the people of Kanepi was a design based on the cannabis leaf. According to ERR, "kanep" is the Estonian word for cannabis.

Bill to decriminalize cannabis usage passes in first reading in Knesset
A bill that would legalize the use of cannabis passed unanimously in its first reading in the Knesset on Wednesday. Currently, the law prohibits the usage of cannabis. The new bill focuses on public enforcement: those caught with cannabis in public are subject to various fines: on the first offense, 1000 NIS and 2000 NIS for the second offense. Thereafter, only on the fourth offense, individuals may be subject to criminal proceedings.

Ontario Cannabis Store Logo Is The Most Literal Thing Ever
At some point in the summer of 2018, the Canadian government is going to legalize marijuana across the country. And as such, provinces are preparing for exactly how they plan to sell it. In Alberta, they'll be issuing licenses for cannabis stores. In B.C., it'll be a mix of public and private stores that will offer weed for sale. In Ontario, pot will be acquired through government-run stores, and on Friday, the province revealed exactly what those will be called, and what the marketing effort behind it looks like.

Woman, 52, given just six weeks to live claims she has 'cured' her terminal cancer with cannabis oil - and baffled doctors have labelled her 'Wonder Woman'
Joy Smith, 52, from Coventry, was given just six weeks to live after being diagnosed with inoperable stomach and bowel cancer in August 2016.Desperate for a solution, Ms Smith reluctantly took cannabis-based tablets, alongside chemotherapy, after reading about a cancer patient in the US who went into remission after producing her own marijuana oil. Nearly two years on, doctors, who described Ms Smith as 'the luckiest woman in the world', are baffled as her scans show just a small amount of the disease is left in her stomach, which she is confident will disappear with continued cannabis use.

A new legal weed plan allows for hundreds of dispensaries across N.J.
A state lawmaker has unveiled a plan to legalize marijuana that would permit hundreds of dispensaries across New Jersey and would allow people to grow a small number of plants at home. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, quietly introduced the bill last week after months of speculation about when it would drop and what it would contain.

States That Have Decriminalized Marijuana Should Expunge Prior Pot Convictions, Activists Say
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group, sent letters to 201 officials in eight states: Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington last week, pointing out that current procedures to expunge convictions for misdemeanour marijuana possession are cumbersome. The committee encouraged the district attorneys to follow the lead of San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who announced in January that he would expunge and then dismiss thousands of misdemeanor and felony marijuana possession cases going back to 1975.

New Hampshire House Passes Bill to Ban Release of Medical Marijuana Registry Information to the Federal Government without a Warrant
Yesterday, the New Hampshire House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would prohibit the release of any information from the state's medical marijuana registry to the federal government without a warrant. Passage of the legislation would take another small step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in effect.

Marijuana Is the New Gold for Mining Companies Going to Pot
Turns out, it may be easier to strike gold by growing green. Just ask Jay Wilgar, a former wind power developer who started a medical marijuana company with friend Travis Kanellos after hatching the idea while lifting weights at a gym. When they began looking at ways to take their startup public, advisers suggested partnering with Newstrike Resources Inc., a Toronto-based firm that had been looking for gold in Ontario and Wyoming without much luck.

A Study of One Colorado County Finds Legal Marijuana has More Benefits Than Problems
A study of one Colorado county has found cannabis provides a great economic benefit, even with the challenges it presents for social services and law enforcement. The study, done by the Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo, dispels some of the concerns surrounding the legalization of marijuana. Overall, embracing the legal cannabis industry resulted in $35 million for Pueblo County in 2016, according to the study.

Senate Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill
OTTAWA - The Senate has given approval in principle to the Trudeau government's bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Bill C-45 passed at second reading this evening by a vote of 44-29. The approval comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded the senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana.


APRIL 2018  

Labour MP calls on UK Government to release details of 1970s "Delta-9" medical cannabis trial and urges Government to legalize cannabis now.
Stephen Pound, a UK MP, and Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland has claimed that a successful medical cannabis trial was undertaken in the UK in the 1970's the results of which have been kept secret.
During a recent Commons debate he hinted that the Secretary of State has details of the trial: "May I help the Minister and suggest that he speak with his colleague the Secretary of State for Health and ask about the extensive trial, known as Delta-9, which took place in the Royal Marsden hospital 40 years ago? He has now gone further and released a video in which he states that the trial was undertaken in London over 40 years ago while he was working with the Department of Health."

Working toward an efficient future in power-hungry cannabis grow facilities
Marijuana is often associated with a nostalgic, hippie, care-free lifestyle, but as legalization occurs throughout the world, the user demographics and outlook on cannabis is changing. The reality is that the legal cannabis industry is actually a massive, corporate industry that is having major environmental impact. Currently, marijuana is the most energy-intensive commodity in agriculture due to the high energy costs required for 24-hour indoor lighting and HVAC systems in indoor production facilities. Most commercially produced cannabis is produced in indoor grow facilities, which consumes more energy and resources than outdoor facilities.

Does Legal Weed Increase Homelessness?
Does cannabis legalization lead to increases in homelessness? That's the argument coming from Colorado's law enforcement and homeless shelters, and anti-pot politicians have picked up on it. However, a new study in the Centennial State debunks prohibitionists' latest anti-pot talking point.
The report, titled "A Study of the Local Social and Economic Impacts of Legal Cannabis, Since the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, on Residents of Pueblo County, Colorado," comes from Colorado State University-Pueblo's Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR), an interdisciplinary program established last year. The primary author, sociology professor and Tim McGettigan, worked closely with 30 other PhDs and Pueblo County officials to compile data on the area's homeless population.

Marijuana May Aid in Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery

Marijuana may be useful in combating alcoholism and curbing cocaine cravings. A recent study published in Neuropsychopharmacology found that a substance found in cannabis called cannabidiol, or CBD, can help prevent relapses in drug and alcohol patients, especially when those patients are re-entering stress-filled environments.

Legal marijuana cuts violence says US study, as medical-use laws see crime fall
The introduction of medical marijuana laws has led to a sharp reduction in violent crime in US states that border Mexico, according to new research. According to the study, Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime, when a state on the Mexican border legalised medical use of the drug, violent crime fell by 13% on average.

As Legalization Approaches, Canada Looks Towards Cannabis to Combat Opioid Use
In the past year alone, at least five studies have reported marijuana's ability to help heavy opioid users reduce or stop their intake. But while stateside university researchers and health officials have pleaded for increased access to medical cannabis, the federal government has refused to budge on its prohibitionist stance. In Canada though, where nationwide legal weed sales are expected to begin later this year, local health officials are already preparing to use the controversial plant in their own fight against opioids.

Ex-Speaker John Boehner Joins Marijuana Firm's Advisory Board
The U.S. marijuana industry has a new spokesman: John Boehner. The Republican former Speaker of the House has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company that cultivates, processes and dispenses cannabis in 11 U.S. states. Boehner's endorsement, after saying nine years ago he was "unalterably opposed" to legalization, could be considered a watershed event: Marijuana has gone mainstream.

Mexican states should start legalizing marijuana: tourism minister
Taking a lead from the United States, Mexico should allow states to begin legalizing marijuana while broader efforts are in limbo, a senior government official said, as the country seeks ways to tackle record gang violence. Tourism minister Enrique de la Madrid, confronting rising lawlessness in and around the resort cities of Cancun and Los Cabos, said it made no sense for Mexico to maintain prohibition given permissive U.S. policies in states such as California.

Canada's Liberal party considers decriminalization of all illicit drugs
With months left before Canada becomes the first country in the G7 to fully legalise marijuana, members of the country's Liberal party, led federally by Justin Trudeau, are calling on their government to go one step further and decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit drugs.

Legalized marijuana push in Utah, Oklahoma shows change in feeling on marijuana in U.S.
The push for legalized marijuana has moved into Utah and Oklahoma, two of the most conservative states in the country, further underscoring how quickly feelings about marijuana are changing in the United States. If the two measures pass, Utah and Oklahoma will join 30 other states that have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the pro-pot National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws.

Oregon Grew More Cannabis Than Customers Can Smoke. Now Shops and Farmers Are Left With Mountains of Unwanted Bud
A recent Sunday afternoon at the Bridge City Collective cannabis shop in North Portland saw a steady flow of customers. Little wonder: A gram of weed was selling for less than the price of a glass of wine.

Australia should tax and regulate cannabis, not prohibit it
The decision to ban cannabis was an accident of history. There was no careful root and branch review of the evidence. Instead, Australia was represented at a League of Nations meeting in Geneva in 1925 where delegates from several countries decried the dangers of cannabis. As Robert Kendell outlines in his book Cannabis Condemned: "A claim by the Egyptian delegation that [cannabis] was as dangerous as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same international controls, was supported by several other countries. No formal evidence was produced and conference delegates had not been briefed about cannabis."

US experts back marijuana-based drug for childhood seizures
A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy.
If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group's recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals' syrup would become the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S. The 13-member FDA panel voted unanimously in favour of the experimental medication made from a chemical found in cannabis - one that does not get users high.

Chuck Schumer introduces marijuana decriminalization bill on 4/20
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is giving supporters of the unofficial marijuana celebration day something they can really light up to - the knowledge that a legislative leader in one of America's two major political parties wants to decriminalize marijuana.

Study: Traffic Fatalities Have Not Increased As A Consequence Of Legalization
The enactment of adult use marijuana regulation in Colorado and Washington is not independently linked to an increase in traffic fatalities, according to a study published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Investigators at the University of Oregon compared traffic accident outcomes in Colorado and Washington following legalization to other states with similar pre-legalization economic and traffic trends. They reported, "We find that states that legalized marijuana have not experienced significantly different rates of marijuana- or alcohol-related traffic fatalities relative to their synthetic controls."

Will Marijuana Use Be Legal in Asia?
With America stepping up for the unusual, even other countries are considering the possibility. You could say that supporters of cannabis exert every inch of their efforts to encourage others for support. At present, more and more studies are being ramped up to prove the many benefits of marijuana. Asia is a big continent, making people wonder if it will ever consider the big change. It can be noted that physicians from China 5,000 years ago recommended cannabis-based tea to treat malaria and gout. Will this be the second largest economy's reason to initiate the legalization in the region?

Michigan approves marijuana legalization vote for November
The battle to free the weed officially started Thursday when the State Board of Canvassers ruled that a group pushing a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use got enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot. The 4-0 decision by the board was met with cheers by advocates for the proposal.

Cannabis Tissue Culture 101
Tissue culture cultivation represents a transformative approach to propagation in the cannabis industry. The science of tissue culture (TC) was commercialized roughly four decades ago and is widely used across agricultural sectors. Until recently, the technology had not been adopted by the marijuana industry, perhaps due to a lack of knowledge sharing between industries or the long history legal barriers. Today, the popularity of TC in the cannabis sector is a far different story.


MAY 2018  

Canadian Real Estate Association Calls For Moratorium On Growing Weed At Home
Canada's real estate industry organization is calling for a moratorium on growing marijuana at home until the government sets out nationwide regulations for the practice. Ottawa's proposed marijuana legalization regulations allow Canadians to grow up to four marijuana plants at their residences after a federal court ruled in 2016 that the government cannot ban medical marijuana patients from growing their own cannabis.

Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract

As more states legalize marijuana, there's growing interest in a cannabis extract - cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It's marketed as a compound that can help relieve anxiety - and, perhaps, help ease aches and pains, too. Part of the appeal, at least for people who don't want to get high, is that CBD doesn't have the same mind-altering effects as marijuana, since it does not contain THC, the psychoactive component of the plant.

Missouri House Passes Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana Despite Federal Prohibition
Today, the Missouri House passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state, setting the foundation to nullify unconstitutional federal cannabis prohibition in practice. Rep. James Neely (R-Cameron) introduced House Bill 1554 (HB1554) in January. The legislation would expand the state's "Right to try Law" and provisions authorizing the use of hemp extract for qualifying patients to allow terminally ill patients to access smokeless medical marijuana.

DEA's rule on cannabis extracts will stand, federal judges say
A federal appeals court this week dealt a blow to makers of CBD-rich cannabis extracts who were trying to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from considering their products as dangerous drugs. A panel of judges for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shot down the hemp industry's challenge of a DEA rule that established a drug code for marijuana extracts.

Trudeau Doesn't Rule Out Delaying Pot Legalization, As Urged By Senate Committee
With one Senate committee after another recommending changes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left the door open a crack Wednesday to the possibility of a delay in enacting his Liberal government's much-maligned cannabis legalization bill.

California Shocker: Dianne Feinstein Drops Opposition to Cannabis Legalization
In a major break from her long-held opposition to cannabis legalization, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said earlier today that she now believes the federal government should not interfere with California's cannabis laws. "Federal law enforcement agents should not arrest Californians who are adhering to California law," said Feinstein, who faces a rising challenge from fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon. De Leon, a progressive state senator from Los Angeles, is peeling votes away from the longtime senator.

Lidl offers locally grown cannabis to Swiss shoppers
You may have heard about their cut-price stollen, and possibly their surprisingly flavoursome jam. But you probably won't have sampled the latest range offered by the supermarket chain Lidl: locally grown cannabis. Two products derived from hemp flowers are being offered in Swiss stores as an alternative to rolling tobacco.
A 1.5g box, from plants grown indoors, costs 17.99 swiss francs. A 3g bag is 19.99 Swiss francs, but is made from flowers grown in greenhouses. The packs are on sale alongside cigarettes and cigars at the tills. The cost per cigarette is double that of tobacco roll-ups. Switzerland changed the law in 2011 to permit people over 18 to purchase and use cannabis containing no more than 1% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's principal psychoactive constituent.

Federal Court Proves Gov't Loyalty to Big Pharma, Rules CBD Has No Medical Value
The United States hemp industry was dealt a major blow on Monday after the federal U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Drug Enforcement Agency to list cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, which is a non-psychoactive cannabis derivative, as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The hemp industry brought a lawsuit against the government in 2016, when the DEA issued a "clarifying rule" that claimed CBD was an illicit drug, due to it being a by-product of cannabis flowers.

A Cannabis Analytical Study And Review On The Results Of Marijuana Research Over 20 Years
Twenty years of scientific research on marijuana has given Americans a bird's eye view of the potentials of marijuana both as a medicine and as a harmful drug. Despite the good that marijuana use has brought to the field of medicine and cancer research, there is still so much doubt and suspicion regarding its benefits. So far, throughout 20 years of research since the 1990s, acute cannabis use did not produce fatal overdoses. However, driving under the influence of cannabis may result in fatal accidents especially if the users are intoxicated with alcohol at the same time. Moreover, taking cannabis for pregnant women may reduce the baby's weight.

Canadian Cannabis Industry Will See 70% Of Profit Flow To Provincial Governments, CIBC Report Predicts
Canada's cannabis industry has exploded since the Liberals came into power in Ottawa. There are now some two dozen publicly-traded marijuana companies with a combined market value of $23 billion. But that nascent industry will have to fight for a small share of the profits to be made from cannabis, because provinces will be taking the lion's share, says a new report from CIBC.
Canada's marijuana industry will be larger than the hard liquor market by 2020, but  "the provinces will hold all the cards when it comes to distribution," CIBC analysts John Zamparo, Prakash Gowd and Mark Petrie wrote in a report released this week.

Despite Legalization, Marijuana Black Market Hides In Plain Sight
On a big-sky plateau on the eastern slope of the Cascades, a 10-acre parcel of land has been trashed by illicit pot farmers. Abandoned equipment rusts and jugs of chemicals molder. Marijuana legalization wasn't supposed to look like this. Five years into its experiment with legal, regulated cannabis, Washington state is finding that pot still attracts criminals.

B.C.'s Craft Cannabis Growers Call On Government To Protect Their Businesses
Jessika Villano sells a potent array of dried cannabis, oils, salves and even bud-infused bath bombs at Buddha Barn Medicinal Society - all grown and processed by small-scale British Columbia producers. Villano doesn't want that to change when marijuana is legalized later this year, and she's among the proponents of local craft cannabis who are pushing the federal and provincial governments to ensure its survival.

Cannabis: it matters how young you start
What a difference a year or two can make: If you started smoking marijuana at the start of your teens, your risk of having a drug abuse problem by age 28 is 68 per cent, but if you started smoking between 15 and 17 your risk drops to 44 per cent, according to a new study by University de Montreal researchers.
All the more reason, they say, to educate kids early, in primary school, about the risks of starting pot smoking, especially now that the potency is much greater than it was in decades past and that public acceptance is being spurred by legalization in jurisdictions such as Canada. "The odds of developing any drug abuse symptoms by age 28 were reduced by 31 per cent for each year of delayed onset of cannabis use in adolescence," the researchers at UdeM's Department of Psychology, School of Psychoeducation and the CHU Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre found.
The Study: Use Onset and Adult Drug Abuse Symptoms: A Prospective Study of Common Risk Factors and Indirect Effects," by Charlie Rioux, Natalie Castellanos-Ryan et al, was published April 22, 2018 in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Preparing City for Marijuana Legalization, Instructs NYPD to Halt Arrests
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to instruct the New York Police Department to stop arrests of New Yorkers smoking weed in public while additionally forming a task force to ease what he sees as an inevitable full legalization of recreational marijuana. De Blasio will direct the NYPD to hand out summonses to people caught smoking pot by officers in public areas across the city, but not arrest them.

Florida ban on smokable medical pot ruled unconstitutional
Florida's ban that prevents medical marijuana patients from smoking their cannabis has gone up in smoke. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers on Friday ruled that a state's ban on smokable cannabis is unconstitutional. Florida's Department of Health said in a statement it has appealed the ruling, which will impose an automatic stay. Gievers wrote in her 22-page ruling that Floridians "have the right to use the form of medical marijuana for treatment of their debilitating medical conditions as recommended by their certified physicians, including the use of smokable marijuana in private places."

Drugs minister accused of 'hypocrisy on a grand scale' over husband's involvement in legal cannabis farm
Victoria Atkins has been accused of "hypocrisy on a grand scale" after it emerged that she voluntarily recused herself from speaking for the government on cannabis and other aspects of her drugs brief, because her husband was involved with a legal cannabis farm. The Home Office minister and former criminal drugs prosecutor has previously spoken out against both legalising and regulating the drug. But her husband Paul Kenward is the managing director of British Sugar, which is licensed to grow cannabis. The company produces a non-psychoactive variety which is used in children's epilepsy medicine.


JUNE 2018  

Scientists, Funded By Crypto, Using Blockchain to Stop Monsanto from Taking Over Cannabis Industry
As The Free Thought Project reported last week, blockchain startups have been offering interesting solutions for the cannabis industry, which is facing strict regulations from the government, as well as constant take-over attempts by large corporations. One major concern of cannabis advocates is the possibility of large biotech corporations like Monsanto patenting seeds or even DNA for different strains.

Conservative Senator Admits He's Smoked Pot And Isn't Excited About Crossing U.S. Border

OTTAWA - Conservative Sen. Don Plett told a Senate committee Monday that he smoked marijuana 50 years ago and is now concerned he may be barred entry into the United States if a border agent asks. The Manitoba senator made the admission as the government's pot czar, Liberal MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, appeared at the Senate's social affairs, science, and technology committee. The group is tasked with reviewing the government's marijuana legalization bill, clause by clause.

'I want to produce the world's best cannabis'
In the blistering heat of the Coachella desert, armed security guards ensure there are no unwanted visitors at a gated industrial complex. The smell is a giveaway before you step inside the nondescript buildings.
With dozens of fans whirring, and under bright lights, Lars Havens shows us thousands of cannabis plants being cultivated by his company, Del-Gro. Most of the seven-acre (2.8ha) site is still being developed but several rooms are already operational. Lars has been a nurse, a professional rugby player, mixed martial arts fighter, and a bar manager. Now he's hoping to capitalise on the world's biggest legal marijuana industry.

Can cannabis fight tumors?
Cannabinoids interact with your body by way of naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors embedded in cell membranes throughout your body. It has a long history of use for pain and seizure disorders. Doctors working with medical cannabis are also using it to treat cancer-related side effects, and evidence suggests the herb may even have antitumor effects all on its own
Cannabis is proapoptotic, meaning it triggers cellular suicide of cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched, and antiangiogenic, meaning it cuts off a tumor's blood supply. CBD and THC together appears more effective against cancer than either of them in isolation. The sequence of administration also matters; when administered after chemotherapy, it induced greater apoptosis (cell death) than when administered prior to chemo. Another recent study suggests CBD from hemp may be helpful against ovarian cancer, reducing metastasis and slowing ovarian cancer better than the current ovarian cancer drug Cisplatin.

Study Finds: Marijuana Use Has No Harmful Effects On Brain Structure
According to a new study, which will soon be published in the scientific journal Addiction, there is no link between the continuous use of cannabis and changes in the structure of the brain. In total, 20 researchers from 13 institutions across the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom participated in the study; they looked into the relationship between habitual marijuana use and the structure of the brain in 1,096 middle-aged men and young adults.
For the study, researchers used MRI screenings to evaluate the connection between frequent marijuana use and the volumes of grey matter in seven brain regions. They inspected the thalamus, putamen, caudate nucleus, pallidum, amygdala, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens. Once the research was completed, the researchers found no connection between cannabis use and brain morphology.

Canada's Senate votes to legalise recreational marijuana
Canada has taken a key step towards legalising recreational marijuana after senators voted in favour of new legislation permitting nationwide use of the drug. The upper chamber Senate voted 56 to 30 in favour of new rules on Thursday, but also included amendments the House of Commons will need to decide on before the law can be passed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal party pledged to legalise recreational use of marijuana during their successful 2015 general election campaign. While there is not yet a defined date when the drug will go on sale, clearing the Senate appeared to be the last serious hurdle for the bill, with a number of Conservative senators opposing legalization.

How a handful of hedge funds cornered cannabis financing - and made a killing in the process

At the end of May, marijuana company Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. raised $115 million in a bought deal co-led by the Bank of Montreal's investment banking arm. The deal, the third involving BMO in the past six months, appeared to confirm a narrative developing in Canada's cannabis industry: that mainstream financial support, for the most part sidelined by legal and reputational concerns, was finally pouring into the sector. But for those who have watched the emergence of the industry, a peek inside the deal book would have revealed a familiar name.

Portugal's parliament legalizes cannabis-based medicines
Portugal's parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill on Friday to legalize marijuana-based medicines, after rejecting earlier proposals to allow patients to grow the drug at home. Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001 to fight a heroin epidemic, and has legal plantations growing marijuana products for export. But it had trailed EU countries such as Italy and Germany, as well as Canada and parts of the United States on medical marijuana.

Cannabis oil row: Epileptic boy has supply returned
A severely epileptic boy has been given back medicinal cannabis oil that was confiscated from his mother at customs, the home secretary has said. Billy Caldwell, 12, received the oil after doctors made clear it was a "medical emergency", Sajid Javid said. Billy's mother, Charlotte Caldwell, from County Tyrone, said they had "achieved the impossible" but called for the oil to be freely available. Billy began using cannabis oil in 2016 to control his seizures. The cannabis oil, which contains a substance called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is illegal in the UK but available elsewhere.

Canada legalises recreational cannabis use
Canada's parliament has passed a law legalising the recreational use of marijuana nationwide. The Cannabis Act passed its final hurdle on Tuesday in a 52-29 vote in the Senate. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed, and sold. Canadians will be able to buy and consume cannabis legally as early as this September.

The war on cannabis has been lost - it should be legalised, says Lord Hague
The war against cannabis has been "comprehensively and irreversibly lost", former Conservative leader William Hague has said, as he urges Theresa May to legalise the drug. Writing in the Telegraph Lord Hague says Mrs May should be "bold" and introduce a "major change" in policy, warning it is "deluded" to think cannabis can be "driven off the streets".
His intervention comes as the Prime Minister faces a growing Cabinet row over whether to allow medicinal use of the drug following pleas from the mother of 12 year-old Billy Caldwell.

There's a sea change coming for the $1 billion marijuana-based industry you've never heard of
Change is coming for a small but blooming corner of the marijuana industry. A compound in marijuana that's been linked to a range of potential health benefits - but doesn't cause a high - is increasingly being eyed for use in salves, oils, balms, and beverages. It's also the active ingredient in a new drug that's on the cusp of federal approval. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is estimated to make up a roughly $1 billion industry. If and when the Food and Drug Administration approves the new CBD-based drug - a decision currently slated for the end of June - it will turn the compound into one that can be legally prescribed by a doctor.



JULY 2018  

Vermont's legal marijuana era dawns
As of today, recreational use of marijuana is legal in Vermont - within boundaries of some clear and not-so-clear rules. Vermont becomes the ninth state to legalize marijuana and the first state to do so through its state legislature. Gov. Phil Scott signed the law in January with "mixed emotions."

California to experience "weed drought" this summer, insiders say

Out with the old, in with the new is the mantra of many California marijuana retailers this weekend. In case you missed it in a haze of smoke, California dispensaries are scrambling to dispose of their noncompliant bud - slashing prices in fire sales in what is likely to be the biggest marijuana sale the Golden State has ever seen.

Criminalising people for possessing small amounts of cannabis 'not a particularly good idea', says Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn has said "criminalising people for possession of small amounts of cannabis is not a particularly good idea", although he stopped short of backing any change in the law regarding recreational use, even though he signed an early day motion in 2000 calling for the possession of cannabis to be decriminalised. On Sunday, however, Mr Corbyn would not be drawn on whether he would support such a move and when asked whether cannabis should be decriminalised for recreational, as well as medical use, he said: "I think at this stage we should say that medical use of cannabis is good."

Life insurance companies no longer treating marijuana use as high risk as tobacco
Some of Canada's biggest insurance companies have updated their policies on marijuana use, and the changes are having a major impact on regular users' premiums. With recreational use of the drug set to become legal on Oct. 17, marijuana is moving toward mainstream acceptance, and the slow-moving and stodgy world of life insurance is no exception.

FIFA World Cup Players Allowed to Use CBD Under New World Anti-Doping Agency Rule
Some soccer (aka "football") fans still may remember the day Diego Maradona celebrated a goal like a madman during the 1994 World Cup in the United States. After his goal against Greece in the group stages of the tournament, Maradona ran towards a TV camera with a maniacal Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining' look on his face. In an extraordinary scene, he was led off the pitch at the end of the next game by a nurse, where he submitted to a drug test. Maradona tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine, and his career was effectively over.
Marijuana is also classified as an illegal drug, and any soccer player who tests positive for it at the 2018 World Cup will be banned. However, this won't be the case for cannabidiol (CBD) users, as the cannabis compound was taken off the banned substance list by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in what could be a game-changing move.

Cannabis is beneficial for some conditions, Chief Medical Officer concludes
Cannabis moved a step closer to being legalised for medicinal use after the Chief Medical Officer concluded there was 'conclusive evidence' it was beneficial for some conditions. Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said it was now difficult to defend the retention of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug - meaning it was considered to have little or no therapeutic potential - on scientific grounds. Her decision is the first part of a review commissioned last month by Home Secretary Sajid Javid into the medicinal use of cannabis.

Caribbean Nations Agree To Consider Marijuana Legalization
The heads of Caribbean nations have agreed to "review marijuana's current status with a view to reclassification," noting "human and religious rights" issues stemming from criminalization as well as "the economic benefits to be derived" from legalization. The move, which was announced by The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization of nations including Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and others, comes after a committee formed by the group recommended replacing cannabis criminalization with legal regulation.

Judge rules First Church of Cannabis cannot use weed as religious sacrament
The mission of Indiana's First Church of Cannabis to get the state to recognize a religious exemption to the state's marijuana laws appears to have gone up in smoke, at least for now. On Friday, Marion County Superior Court Jude Sheryl Lynch ruled that the church could not smoke marijuana as a religious sacrament. The church's officials filed a lawsuit against the state in 2015, just days after becoming a recognized church in the state, saying that Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) should allow for a religious exemption from state and federal laws related to marijuana.

Two Israeli firms seek to cash in with Dead Sea cannabis cosmetics
Israel's Together Pharma Ltd., a manufacturer and distributor of medical cannabis, has signed an agreement with local skincare firm Premier Dead Sea Cosmetics Laboratories to cooperate in the creation of a line of therapeutic and cosmetic products that combine Dead Sea minerals with the cannabidiol compound, CBD, extracted from cannabis plants.

How investing in pot could land you in trouble at the U.S. border
A high-profile Canadian businessman is sounding the alarm over investments in the American pot industry after he was banned from entering the country for life. "I was truly shocked by what happened to me," Sam Znaimer told CTV News. Znaimer is one of Canada's best-known venture capitalists, having built his reputation investing in technology companies. Several years ago he started putting his money into budding pot companies and now gives speeches to ganja-preneurs and sometimes advises cannabis startups on how to best meet regulatory requirements.
- and -
U.S. reportedly issuing lifetime travel bans for anyone even remotely connected to Canada's legal cannabis industry


Police 'decriminalising cannabis' as prosecutions fall away
Police forces are in effect decriminalising cannabis, campaigners say, after uncovering figures that show a substantial fall in the number of prosecutions and cautions for possessing the drug. Last year only 15,120 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for possession of cannabis, a fall of 19% since 2015. Police issued cautions to 6,524 people in 2017 - 34% fewer than two years before. The figures from the Ministry of Justice were released in response to a parliamentary question from the Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, who called for a "regulated cannabis market" to protect public health.

Analysis: GOP Congress Has Blocked Dozens Of Marijuana Amendments
Increase military veterans' access to access medical cannabis. Shield state marijuana laws from federal interference. Protect industrial hemp growers' water rights. Allow marijuana businesses to be taxed fairly and to access banking services. That describes just some of the nearly three dozen cannabis-related amendments that Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has blocked from even being voted on during the current Congress, a new analysis by Marijuana Moment finds. On at least 34 occasions, lawmakers - Democrats and Republicans alike - filed marijuana and drug policy reform proposals only to be stymied by the powerful Rules Committee, which decides which measures can advance to the House floor.

The boom in medical cannabis research is set to continue
Cannabis has been receiving some serious media attention in 2018, and a rise in medical cannabis research is following. Canada became the second country in the world to legalise it for recreational use, after Uruguay. From a medical standpoint, the first patient in the UK finally succeeded in obtaining a long-term personal licence for medical cannabis, a move that could pave the way for reforms on its medical use.
In the US, the FDA approved the first pure cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex (cannabidiol, CBD), a liquid formulation developed by GW Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Health Canada Wants Crackdown On Pot Promotion At Music Festivals
Health Canada said Friday it's prepared to crack down on licensed medical marijuana producers who are sponsoring music festivals and other events. The federal department said it's "concerned" about some companies that have engaged in corporate sponsorships and other promotional activities that go against the Cannabis Act. It said the government has made it "abundantly clear" what isn't permitted under the laws, such as marketing to minors.

U.S. Admits Cannabis DOES Kill Cancer Cells
There have been rumblings in the past, following reports that scientists have conducted tests with the drug, and now the U.S. government have one hundred per cent confirmed the news on their website.
In a page of official advice, the U.S. government wrote: Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory. The National Cancer Institute,part of the U.S. Department of Health, now claims that "cannabinoids may be useful in treating the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment" by smoking, eating it in baked products, drinking herbal teas or even spraying it under the tongue.

UCSD researchers studying effects of cannabis use on drivers
The legalization of recreational cannabis raises new opportunities, and challenges, in addressing the health and safety effects of cannabis use. UC San Diego researchers are studying all aspects of cannabis, including how it can affect drivers.

Israel Decriminalises Cannabis Possession, With Caveats
The Israeli parliament has approved a cannabis reform bill which had near unanimous support among legislators across the political spectrum. The new law replaces criminal penalties for cannabis possession with fines and other non-criminal punishments. Someone found in possession will be fined 1,000 Israeli shekels (£207) for a first offence, or 2,000 shekels (£414) for a second offence. Someone caught three times has a choice: to pay a larger fine, to undertake community service, or to be criminally sentenced.

That Purple Kush You're Toking Might Be a Genetic Imposter
Cannabis strain names can get a bit... quirky (Lamb's Bread, anyone?). But without them, patients that rely on marijuana to treat ailments like pain would be lost. If you want to treat seizures, you might want ACDC - a strain that expresses almost zero THC and very high CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid - and stay away from the potentially panic-inducing Ghost OG, which verges on 25 percent THC.
Unfortunately, there isn't an official federal database with information about cannabis strains, for obvious reasons. After all, this hasn't been a regulated industry - you're not allowed to call a Gala apple a Red Delicious, but no one is stopping you from calling your crop ACDC when it is in fact Ghost OG. It's a big problem examined in a new study, posted to the preprint site BioRxiv, from the University of Northern Colorado. Researchers there bought samples of 30 separate cannabis strains, several for each, from dispensaries and compared them genetically.

'Concussion pill' using cannabis shows promise
A"concussion pill" under development in Miami using cannabis is showing progress for treatment of traumatic brain injuries. In a pre-clinical study, the combination of a hemp-derived cannabinoid and an NMDA amino acid anesthetic is showing improved cognitive function in rodents with traumatic brain injuries compared with individual components.

Cannabis legalization forces 14 RCMP sniffer dogs into early retirement
Earlier this month, the RCMP threw a retirement party in St. John's, N.L., for a Labrador retriever named Luke. As the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and as cannabis legalization approaches, that puts Luke and other dogs like him out of work. Luke, who sniffed more than five million of dollars' worth of drugs during his time on the force, is one of 14 canines across the country who will be out of a job before October 17.




AUGUST 2018  

The Pot Breathalyzer Is Here. Maybe
As legalization of recreational and medical marijuana continues to expand, police across the country are more concerned than ever about stoned drivers taking to the nation's roads and freeways, endangering lives. With few accurate roadside tools to detect pot impairment, police today have to rely largely on field sobriety tests developed to fight drunk driving or old-fashioned observation, which can be foiled with Visine or breath mints.

Wrigley Billionaire Moves From Chewing Gum to Medical Marijuana

The scion of a family that made a fortune in chewing gum is moving into pot. William Wrigley Jr. II, who helped orchestrate the sale of his family's business to Mars Inc. in 2008, led a $65 million investment round for Surterra Wellness, a medical cannabis startup in Georgia with licenses to operate in Florida and Texas. The funding brings the total raised so far to $100 million, according to Surterra.

Colorado Legalization Didn't Increase Teen Marijuana Use, Another Study Finds
The latest in a string of studies to show that marijuana legalization does not lead to increased underage cannabis consumption has just been released. "Our results suggest that adolescents' marijuana use may not increase immediately following initiation of retail marijuana sales, which seems plausible given that they cannot legally access marijuana from the retail market," concludes the study of Colorado teens, published in the journal Prevention Research last week.

North Dakota Likely To Vote On Marijuana Legalization In November
A petition to fully legalize marijuana in North Dakota appears to be heading to the November ballot, an election official at the secretary of state's office indicated to Marijuana Moment on Tuesday.

Climate change is turning the Middle East's breadbasket into a cannabis farm
The farmer plucks a cannabis flower from a long stalk. He presses it against his nose, inhales deeply and begins to extol the therapeutic -- if not necessarily scientific -- properties of his crop.
"Smell this. It smells like heaven," says Abu Salim, who doesn't want his real name used for security reasons. "This is the herb of happiness. My friend says that when he smokes a joint, his wife becomes a princess, the world shines, and life is beautiful!"

We may finally know why marijuana helps people with chronic gut problems
As John Mayer tells us (and tells us, and tells us), your body is a wonderland. When it comes to microbial life, this holds especially true for your gut. There, hundreds of residential species eat, breed, and excrete waste. Somehow, your intestines manage to thrive with this zoo inside them - for the most part. In some cases things aren't so wonderful: your gut starts attacking itself in an autoimmune response that's bad for microbes and host alike.

Cannabis Jobs Soar In Canada As Legalization Looms
The growth of Canada's soon-to-be-legal recreational pot industry is starting to create a small buzz among job hunters.
The job website Indeed has released new numbers that show cannabis-related searches, while still small, were more than four times higher last month compared to the year before. The data say weed-related searches increased to 26 out of every 10,000 searches, up from six.

UN Launches First-Ever Full Review Of Marijuana's Status Under International Law
For the first time ever, the United Nations (UN) is launching an in-depth review of whether marijuana is properly classified under international drug treaties. In a related development, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound in marijuana that is increasingly used for medical purposes, does not warrant being controlled under the global agreements.

DEA Wants More Marijuana Grown And Fewer Opioids Produced In 2019. Really.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) isn't exactly known as big fan of marijuana. But in a new Federal Register filing set to be published soon, the anti-drug agency is moving to more than quintuple the amount of cannabis that can legally be grown in the U.S. for research purposes - from roughly 1,000 pounds in 2018 to more than 5,400 pounds next year.

Constellation Brands Extends Their Support of Canadian Cannabis Industry with $5 Billion Investment
As the nationwide legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada comes closer to becoming a reality, alcohol companies have been seen investing in the growing marijuana market. This is why Constellation Brands, one of the largest alcohol manufacturers in the world, has decided to invest in a larger stake of the Canadian cannabis market. On Wednesday, the company announced that it will invest CAD $5 billion in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth to acquire a total of 104.5 million shares in the cannabis company.

Legal Weed: How Republicans Learned to Love Marijuana
Jason Isaac, a fourth-generation Texan and conservative state representative, has a clear memory of his first mind-expanding encounter with marijuana.

Terpenes as Pesticides
The terpenes from cannabis may end up being a key to environmentally friendly pest management. A group of Italian researchers recently published a paper on the utilization of the essential oil or terpene profile from hemp as a pesticide. The scientists steam distilled the hemp to create an essential oil which they tested on mosquitoes, the peach-potato aphid, the common house fly and the tobacco cutworm.

Latest on Cannabis and Cancer
Several studies have already been done on cannabis and cancer, and their results are very promising. Cannabis was found to be effective against several types of cancer including breast, prostate, cervical, lung, brain, and even colorectal cancer. CBD, in particular, was found to be effective against Kaposi' sarcoma.





Senator Warren on weed legalization: 'The federal government should just back off'
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) thinks that the federal government should "back off" while an increasing number of U.S. states legalize marijuana for various reasons.
"As you know, many states around the country have legalized marijuana, either for medical reasons or for medical and for recreational reasons," Warren told Jen Rogers on the Final Round. "The problem, of course, is that nothing has changed at federal law."

Nevada collects $69.8M in marijuana tax, exceeding expectations

Nevada far exceeded its marijuana tax revenue during its first year of adult-use sales. The tax collections totaled $69.8 million for the first fiscal year, about 140 percent of what the state expected, according to a news release from the Nevada Department of Taxation.

Rauner signs medical marijuana expansion bill allowing drug as painkiller alternative
A measure that could dramatically expand access to medical marijuana in Illinois - making it available as an opioid painkiller replacement and easing the application process for all who qualify - was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday.

Inside The Trump Administration's Secret War On Weed
The White House has secretly amassed a committee of federal agencies from across the government to combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light, while attempting to portray the drug as a national threat, according to interviews with agency staff and documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, as it's named in White House memos and emails, instructed 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration this month to submit "data demonstrating the most significant negative trends" about marijuana and the "threats" it poses to the country.

Ahead Of Marijuana Legalization, Health Canada Is Shifting Its Stance On Weed
In the past, public health campaigns warning of the harmful effects of drugs delivered one resounding message: Don't do it. But now that the federal government has decided to legalize marijuana, Health Canada has undertaken new strategies to try and land on teens' screens and in the places they hang out.
"Inevitably, that communication and education is going to be more nuanced and subtle," said David Hammond, a professor in the school of public health at the University of Waterloo.

A Top House Republican Questions Jeff Sessions's Anti-Marijuana Moves
A top Republican leader in Congress is questioning U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision to rescind protections for local marijuana laws and says that letting states implement legalization means "we get to see the laboratories of democracy at work."
The new comments from the fourth highest ranking GOP lawmaker in the House represent a big shift for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who has until now consistently opposed efforts on Capitol Hill to protect state cannabis laws from federal interference.

Amid opioid crisis, researchers aim to put medical marijuana to the test
Since California first took the leap in 1996, 30 more states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana to treat pain.
Anecdotal and historical accounts of pot's painkilling properties abound. But so far, scientific evidence that it works better than traditional painkillers is hard to come by.

Hotels are tapping into the $2.1 billion Cannabis market with CBD room service
Here's one way to curb your late night munchies. Hotels are offering guests cannabis-infused room service menus, featuring comfort foods like meatballs, ice cream sundaes and candies all made with CBD, a derivative of the cannabis plant.
CBD is one of the compounds found in marijuana plants but unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) - which is the chemical compound in cannabis that gets users high - CBD is non-psychoactive. Instead, it may be able to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, stress and anxiety, research shows - the perfect midnight snack after a long day of travel that also happens to be legal.

Marijuana ETF in Canada passes $1 billion in assets as weed stocks light it up
The investing market was abuzz this week with Fidelity Investments' new no-fee index funds reaching near-$1 billion in assets, but it took Fidelity two funds to get it done, while a single Canadian marijuana ETF passed the $1 billion market this week on its own. And it didn't even have the help of Friday's free weed-smoking advertisement from Elon Musk.
The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ) tracks companies' activities in the marijuana industry, and as of Sept. 5 it was above the $1 billion mark - Canadian. To be fair, that translates to a little more than $758 million in U.S. currency at the current exchange rate, but it is still considerable growth for an ETF that launched in April 2017, just a little over a year ago.

Innovative study shows medical cannabis effective in treating a wide range of health conditions
Utilizing new mobile application technology, researchers at The University of New Mexico found that medical cannabis provides immediate symptom relief across dozens of health symptoms with relatively minimal negative side effects.
In two recent studies titled, "Patient-Reported Symptom Relief Following Medical Cannabis Consumption," and "Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia under Naturalistic Conditions" published in the journals, Frontiers in Pharmacology and Medicines, respectively, UNM Department of Psychology Associate Professor Jacob Miguel Vigil and UNM Department of Economics Assistant Professor Sarah See Stith, document that patients experienced statistically and clinically significant therapeutic benefits when they used cannabis for symptoms ranging from chronic pain to insomnia.

Liberal Government Giving Canadians 'Dangerous' Advice On Pot At The Border: Lawyer
The federal government is giving "dangerous" advice to Canadians planning to cross the border after marijuana is legalized on Oct. 17, one lawyer says. Len Saunders, a Blaine, Wa.-based attorney, told HuffPost Canada the government's messaging to Canadians so far has been to tell the truth if they're asked by a border guard whether they've used pot in the past.

Children say cannabis easier to get than alcohol: 'The war on drugs has failed'
Children find it easier to access cannabis than alcohol, a new poll has indicated, prompting government critics to claim: "The war on drugs has failed." Some 44 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds who have used cannabis say it is easy to obtain, according to a poll of more than 1,000 teenagers by Survation for the drugs policy think tank Volteface.

EconoLux Industries website overhauled
The EconoLux Industries website has been completely overhauled and new sections have been added, so please take a look. Thanks.

Class is in session at Canada's first 'pot school'
The school year may be two weeks old, but there's still a buzz at one southern Ontario college over a unique new offering - a full-year cannabis production program. "I never thought five years ago, maybe even two years ago, that we'd be here in this classroom starting a course on commercial cannabis production," said professor Bill MacDonald.
MacDonald is the head of Niagara's College's new cannabis program. On the first day of school, he not only had students huddled around him, but also reporters and cameras.

Coke eyes cannabis-infused drink market
Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) is closely watching the fast-growing marijuana drinks market for a possible entry that would expand the world's largest soft drink maker's ambitions further away from sugary sodas. Coca-Cola announced its interest in a statement on Monday, responding to a report from BNN Bloomberg that said it was in talks with Canada's Aurora Cannabis Inc (ACB.TO) to develop drinks infused with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

ConCourt rules that personal use of dagga* is not a criminal offence (*Dagga = South African name for Cannabis)
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the personal use of dagga is not a criminal offence. "The right to privacy is not confined to a home or private dwelling. It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private space," Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said on Tuesday.
"The judgment does not specify how many grams of cannabis can a person use or have in private." The ruling follows a Western Cape High Court judgment that the possession, cultivation and use of dagga for private use was allowed.

Get Paid To Smoke Weed? Yes, This Is Happening In Canada
A cannabis firm is looking to hire five pot aficionados from across the country to sample the company's wares and get paid to do it. Toronto-based company AHLOT is offering $50 an hour to five "cannabis connoisseurs" to sample various strains of marijuana.

Republicans in a US territory just legalized marijuana
The Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean, just became the first American jurisdiction to legalize the sales of marijuana through a legislature. And it did so with the approval of a Republican-controlled government.
Gov. Ralph Torres (R), who oversees the island territory of around 52,000 people, signed the bill on Friday, following its approval by the Republican-controlled House and Senate. The new law not only allows adults 21 and older to legally possess marijuana, but it will foster the creation of a fully legal marijuana market, overseen by government regulators.

Study shows that medical cannabis use does not lead to rise in rate of crimes committed
There does not appear to be much evidence supporting the notion that legalized medical marijuana increases the rate of violent or property crime, according to a new analysis of city-level data from states where medical pot use is legal.
Opponents to the legalization of medical marijuana use often state that there is a correlation between pot use and criminal activity, as a reason to keep marijuana on the illicit drug list. But, the analysis carried out by economist Yu-Wei Luke Chu, writing for The Conversation, revealed that medical marijuana laws haven't led to an increase in the actual rate of violent or property crimes in nearly all of the states in which medical marijuana is legal.

Canadian cannabis companies invest millions in Pablo Escobar's home turf in Colombia
Near the hometown of the late Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar, a growing number of Canadians are seeking their fortunes in the international drug trade. Today, however, they're doing it legally.
At least seven licensed Canadian cannabis producers have set up shop in Colombia, investing more than $100 million in the conflict-hit country that has become a new frontier in the legal marijuana business, according to a review of company filings.

Malaysia in talks to become first in Asia to allow medical marijuana
Public outrage over a death penalty handed to a 29-year-old man is spurring Malaysia to start talks to legalise marijuana for medical use, racing to become the first Asian country to do so.
The Cabinet "very briefly" discussed the medicinal value of marijuana in a meeting last week and has started early and informal talks on amending the relevant laws, Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Xavier Jayakumar said in an interview on Tuesday (Sept 25) in Putrajaya.

Ontario government to allow pot smoking wherever tobacco smoking allowed
Ontario residents will be able to smoke recreational cannabis wherever the smoking of tobacco is permitted, the Progressive Conservative government said Wednesday, loosening rules established by the previous Liberal regime.
The government will also not put a cap on pot shops when it starts licensing and regulating the province's private cannabis retail marketplace, and municipalities will have until January to opt out of hosting the stores.




OCTOBER 2018  

Military school dean fired after using cannabis to treat cancer
A Vietnam veteran and career educator at an elite military training school now finds himself resorting to a Reagan-era executive order in hopes of clearing his name. Henry Cobbs' crime? Vaping a non-psychoactive form of cannabis to treat his prostate cancer.
Cobbs, 77, was forced out of his job last month as dean of academics for the Air Force Special Operations School (AFSOS) at Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach, a position he had retained since 2009.
A 22-year military veteran with two master's degrees and a doctorate in administration of higher education, the retired Air Force captain was issued a "Notice of Removal" in May for his "use of cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance" by Lt. Col. Michael S. Lowe

U.S. Cannabis Producers Fear Canada Will 'Dominate The Industry'
Derek Peterson is worried about Canadian weed. The CEO of California-based marijuana producer and seller Terra Tech is watching the cannabis industry boom north of the border with more than a little apprehension - because he is already seeing the beginnings of an invasion of U.S. markets by Canada's cannabis firms, today the world's largest.
"The concern for some of the players is the market will be dominated by Canadian companies, shareholders and banks if we allow too much time to pass," Peterson said by phone from California.

New rulings on medical marijuana use go against employers
Health care worker Katelin Noffsinger told a potential employer that she took medical marijuana to deal with the effects of a car accident, but when a drug test came back positive, the nursing home rescinded her job offer anyway.
A federal judge last month ruled that the nursing home, which had cited federal laws against pot use, violated an anti-discrimination provision of the Connecticut's medical marijuana law. It was the latest in a series of clashes between U.S. and state laws around the country that came out in favor of medical marijuana users trying to keep or obtain jobs with drug-testing employers.

PepsiCo just became the latest beverage company to say it's looking at the fast-growing cannabis market
PepsiCo is taking a hard look at the cannabis industry as other beverage makers explore the market.
"I think we'll look at it critically, but I'm not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now," Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told Jim Cramer and Sara Eisen on CNBC's Squawk on the Street on Tuesday.

Flying High: Canada to Allow Cannabis on Domestic Airlines
Domestic flyers on Canadian airlines will legally be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis, a statement from the Transport Ministry said Thursday.
"After October 17, 2018, passengers will be permitted to have a legal amount of cannabis, which is 30 grams, in either their carry on or checked bag, if they are flying to a domestic destination (i.e. within Canada)," said the spokesperson for Transport Minister Marc Garneau, Delphine Denis.

Mormon church backs deal to allow medical marijuana in Utah
The Mormon church joined lawmakers, the governor and advocates to back a deal Thursday that would legalize medical marijuana in conservative Utah after months of fierce debate.
The compromise comes as people prepare to vote in November on an insurgent medical marijuana ballot initiative that held its ground despite opposition from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Canada is facing a shortage of legal pot as Oct. 17 looms
The supply of legal pot in Canada will only meet 30 per cent to 60 per cent of demand after legalization, keeping the black market very much alive and stunting the government's tax take, according to a new study.
Cannabis supply will reach about 210 tonnes, or 210,000 kilograms, in the first year after Canada legalizes marijuana this month, according to a study to be released next week by researchers at the University of Waterloo and the C.D. Howe Institute. Demand, meanwhile, will be about 610 tonnes.

'Women have been saying it works for 10,000 years': 400 women will use marijuana-infused inserts in a groundbreaking study from a Harvard Medical School professor
As cannabis products enter the mainstream, two markets remain largely untapped: women's health and sexuality. While various compounds in cannabis have long been thought to alleviate symptoms associated with pain and stress from menstruation, there hasn't been a lot of research to back it up.
Foria Wellness, a startup based in Venice Beach, California, is seeking to change that. It released a line of products - including lotions, sprays, vaporizer pens, and marijuana suppositories - designed to help women with everything from treating menstrual pain to having orgasms.

In major shift, the U.S. says it won't ban Canadian pot workers
In a policy change made without fanfare Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now says Canadians who work in the legal cannabis industry here will be free to enter the United States.
It's a major reversal of a position announced in late September, when a CBP statement on marijuana legalization in Canada said that "as marijuana continues to be a controlled substance under United States law, working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect admissibility to the U.S."

Canada starts legal marijuana sales Wednesday as world watches closely
Canada's launch of legal marijuana sales may set the stage for a global cannabis revolution, unleashing a wave of high-quality medical research that could bolster pot's reputation as a healthier alternative to alcohol and tobacco and fuel a economic boom across the USA.
Starting Wednesday, Canada becomes the highest-profile country to not only decriminalize cannabis possession and use, but to tax, regulate and monitor its growth, distribution and sale.

Cashing In On Cannabis: What Will Legal Weed Mean For Canada's Economy?

Nine-year-old sells out of Girl Guide cookies in front of cannabis store on first day
A nine-year-old Alberta girl managed to rapidly sell out of Girl Guide cookies by targeting cannabis consumers on the first day of legal sales. Elina Childs tells CTV News Channel that it was her father's idea to load up her wagon and line up outside of an Edmonton pot shop on Wednesday.

Canada is running out of marijuana two days after drug became legal
Canadians were so excited about getting their hands on some legal, recreational marijuana the country is reportedly experience a shortage. Police were called to help shops struggling to handle long queues and with frustrated people unable to buy cannabis.
Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who has led the government's legalisation programme, told public broadcaster CBC the country was unable to supply enough to meet demand.
More (with video):

Mexican Government Officials Visit Canada To Learn About Marijuana Legalization
The office of Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced on Friday that key members of his incoming cabinet will discuss marijuana legalization with Canadian government officials on a visit to the country next week.

How much weed was sold on Canada's legalization day, province-by-province
Cannabis was "flying off the shelves" in retail outlets and online stores across the country as soon as the clock struck midnight Wednesday.
The demand was so high that pot stores reported running low or completely out of cannabis on the first day. So how much weed did Canadians purchase on legalization day?

Customers Flag Bulky Legal Cannabis Packaging
Some cannabis buyers are complaining the bulky packaging is environmentally unfriendly, but producers say government guidelines are to blame.
Greg MacLean, who picked up some newly legal cannabis at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation last week, was shocked to see how much packaging was used for four grams of weed: two plastic containers, two cardboard boxes, and clear plastic casing, all enclosed in a brown paper bag.

Canada legalized weed. Does that mean other countries will follow suit?
Canada has ushered in a new era of legal recreational cannabis use, positioning itself as the potential world leader in the industry. And as Canadians flock to stores and online sellers to buy legal weed, many other countries around the world are keeping a close eye on the nation, wondering how the pot business will play out.

Colorado cracks a billion in annual marijuana sales in record time, generating $200M in tax revenue
Marijuana sales in Colorado exceeded $1 billion as of August of this year, with tax revenue from those sales coming in at $200 million, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Revenue and its Marijuana Enforcement Division.
It's the earliest point in any of the four years Colorado has had legal recreational marijuana that combined medical and rec sales have cracked the billion-dollar mark.

Nova Cannabis makes $1.3 million from Alberta stores in first five days of legalization
Alberta's Nova Cannabis stores pulled in about $260,000 apiece after the first five days of legalization.
Alcanna Inc., the company that owns the stores and also owns the Liquor Depot chain, released its numbers Tuesday morning, saying that while it would typically not disclose financial results, it has received an "unprecedented number of requests" to do so from shareholders, investors, analysts and media.

Canadian Researchers Are Stoked About Access to Legal Weed
Canada's legalization of pot this week isn't just a boon to formerly closeted stoners - Canadian scientists are also stoked about easier access and better funding to the devil's lettuce, kickstarting a new wave of cannabis research.
Research on cannabis has been going on in Canada for years. Several Canadian post-secondary schools already offer classes and degrees related to the industry, and schools such as McMaster University and the University of Guelph in Ontario have entire labs dedicated to cannabis.

One of the largest cannabis companies is going public on the New York Stock Exchange
Aurora Cannabis, one of the largest Canadian marijuana producers, is going public on the New York Stock Exchange. When Aurora's shares start trading on Tuesday morning, the company will join a select list of cannabis producers that are listing on US-based exchanges.
While US-based exchanges were initially reluctant to list Canadian marijuana producers, companies including Tilray (which conducted an initial public offering on the Nasdaq in July), Cronos Group, and Canopy Growth all now list on US exchanges.

Cannabis pain relief without the 'high'
In the wake of cannabis legalization, a team of scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University have delivered encouraging news for chronic pain sufferers by pinpointing the effective dose of marijuana plant extract cannabidiol (CBD) for safe pain relief without the typical "high" or euphoria produced by the THC. The findings of their study have been published in the journal PAIN (The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain).

Mexico may be next to legalize cannabis: incoming FM
Mexico "absolutely" could follow Canada's lead in legalizing marijuana as a way to reduce violence generated by a war on drugs that "doesn't work," its incoming foreign minister said Tuesday.
Marcelo Ebrard, who will become foreign minister when Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office December 1, said he discussed Ottawa's experience Monday with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Asked whether Mexico might follow Canada's example, Ebrard told reporters, "Sure, absolutely."




Canadian Marijuana Employees Haven't Cleared Customs Just Yet
Earlier this year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it would not allow individuals entry into the United States if they work in Canada's legal cannabis industry. The statement affected everyone working in the industry - from budtender to business owner.
Last week, however, CBP announced a reversal (of sorts) of its original guidance document. In the new revision, CBP clarified, 'A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. however, if a traveller is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible" (sic).

Japan, South Korea, China Warn Its Citizens Not To Smoke Weed In Canada
Marijuana may be legal now in Canada but at least three Asian governments are warning their citizens to avoid it, including the spectre of possible arrest for Japanese and South Koreans.
China, the latest to weigh in, didn't go that far. Its consulate in Toronto issued a statement dated Friday reminding Chinese in its jurisdiction - and students in particular - "to avoid contact with and use of marijuana for the sake of ensuring your own physical and mental health."

Thailand blazes ahead with push to legalise medical marijuana use
Thailand is rolling out plans to legalise medical marijuana, an official told AFP Wednesday, as the country hopes to cash in on a multi-billion dollar industry with a product its supporters hail as some of the world's best.
Several nations have embraced the use of medicinal cannabis, including Canada, Australia, Israel, and more than half the states in the US. But Thailand would be the first country in Asia to do so, tapping into a market that US-based Grand View Research has estimated could reach US$55.8 billion by 2025.

Molson Coors To Sell Cannabis-Infused Beverages In Canada Starting Next Year
Molson Coors Brewing Co. expects to "secure a meaningful share" of the cannabis-infused beverage market when edibles are legalized in Canada, the company's CEO said.
"We will be in a ready-to-go position and, you know, one of the first on the playing field as the market opens up," said Mark R. Hunter in a conference call with analysts after the company released its third-quarter earnings report Wednesday.

Mexico's Supreme Court legalizes cannabis for recreational use
Drug policy reformers claimed victory in Mexico City Wednesday after the country's Supreme Court handed down two rulings legalizing cannabis for all forms of non-commercial adult use.
"The rulings pave the way for adults to use marijuana in any way they see fit. We aren't just talking about recreational use," Froylan Enciso, a drug policy researcher at Mexico's social sciences institute, the CIDE, told UPI.

FDA comment period about marijuana classification almost over
The opportunity to provide input regarding the possibility of marijuana being removed from the list of Schedule I drugs is almost over.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a notice to the Federal Register on Oct. 10, asking the public to comment on potential scheduling changes to marijuana and several other controlled substances. FDA wants to know the potential impact that would be created if marijuana was no longer internationally classified as a Schedule I drug.

U.S. Border Agents Have Denied Entry to Canadians Who Admitted To Smoking Pot Legally, Mayor Alleges
A mayor in Saskatchewan has voiced "concern" after he and other Canadian residents of his town have faced strict questioning at the U.S. border following recreational marijuana legalization earlier this month, and said that some have been blocked from entering.
Estevan, where Roy Ludwig is the mayor, is located about 10 miles from the border with North Dakota, which has legalized medicinal cannabis and will vote on legalizing recreational weed on November 6. Since Canada legalized recreational pot nationwide on October 17, residents of the town of just over 11,000 have faced difficulties crossing the southern border, according to Ludwig.

First FDA-approved cannabis-based drug now available in the US
Epidiolex, the first cannabis-based medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, is now available by prescription in all 50 states. The twice-daily oral solution is approved for use in patients 2 and older to treat two types of epileptic syndromes: Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic dysfunction of the brain that begins in the first year of life, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a form of epilepsy with multiple types of seizures that begins in early childhood, usually between ages 3 and 5.

THC! CBD! Terpenoids! Cannabis Science Is Getting Hairy
Today, cannabis continues its slow march toward nationwide decriminalization with voters deciding whether to allow recreational use in Michigan and North Dakota, and for medical purposes in Utah and Missouri. As states keep chipping away at federal prohibition, more consumers will gain access, sure - but so will more researchers who can more easily study this astonishingly complex and still mysterious plant.

Michigan Voters Legalize Marijuana
Voters this evening passed Proposal 18-1 into law, making Michigan the 10th state to legalize marijuana. The initiative allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces, or up to 10 ounces at a private residence, for those 21 and older. The measure also legalizes the personal cultivation of up to 12 marijuana plants.
The initiative establishes a licensed and regulated system of marijuana retail outlets, which will be supplied by licensed cultivation centers. Marijuana will receive a 10% excise tax in addition to the standard 6% sales tax.

Missouri voters say yes to medical marijuana
Missouri voters on Tuesday approved a measure that would give them access to medical marijuana, joining a long list of states that allow the once-forbidden drug to be used for medicinal purposes.
Three separate and unrelated issues were on the ballot providing for medical marijuana in Missouri, thanks to three successful petition drives. But just one passed: Amendment 2.

Recreational pot sales in Mass. just days away after independent testing labs get green light
The start of recreational pot sales in Massachusetts is likely just days away after the Cannabis Control Commission authorized two independent laboratories to start testing marijuana and marijuana products on Wednesday.
CDX Analytics, of Salem, and MCR Labs, of Framingham, received notices to commence operations after they satisfied specified conditions, passed inspections, fingerprinted lab agents, and became established in Metrc, a mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system that records and verifies when production batches have been tested, officials said.

Michigan vote to legalize pot fires up investor momentum behind cannabis
Michigan's vote Tuesday to become the 10th U.S. state where the recreational use of cannabis is legal is adding more momentum to a trend that some investors now say is inevitable: that marijuana will become legal nationwide within the next 5 years. As a result, companies, portfolio managers, and high-ranking executives are racing to position themselves to profit from what is expected to become a multi-billion dollar market.

THC vs CBD: What's In Your Weed? (video)

Thailand lawmakers vote to legalise medical marijuana in groundbreaking move
Thailand's legislature has officially proposed allowing the licensed medical use of marijuana, making it a potential trailblazer in Asia in legalising what used to be regarded strictly as a dangerous drug.
The National Legislative Assembly on Friday submitted proposed amendments to the Health Ministry that would put marijuana and the plant kratom, popular locally as a stimulant and painkiller, into a legal category that would allow their licensed possession and distribution under regulated conditions.

(Bonus Video about Canadian College Cannabis growing course)

Massachusetts retail marijuana shops get 'signal to open' Tuesday from state Cannabis Control Commission
Retail marijuana shops in Northampton and Leicester received clearance to make Massachusetts history and start selling their products in three calendar days. The first sales are looking likely to occur on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission announced Friday that they've provided the final sign-offs to Cultivate Holdings, LLC, which has a retail shop in Leicester, and New England Treatment Access (NETA) LLC, which is readying a store in Northampton, to start selling marijuana and marijuana products.

Legal Cannabis Shortages Will Continue for Years Due to Canada's Strict Regulations, Industry Experts Warn
Marijuana industry experts in Canada have predicted that nationwide shortages plaguing dispensaries following legalization last month will continue for years to come - and strict regulations are to blame.
Lack of product has caused some legal pot shops to temporarily close down within the first month of national legalization, with the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan all reporting shortage problems. Khurram Malik, CEO of the Ontario-based cannabis company Biome Grow Inc, told Canada's Global News that overly stringent regulations are one of the driving factors behind a lack of supply.

Canada's Illicit Cannabis Shops Are Thriving, A Month After Legalization
The three surveillance cameras and the steady flow of people in and out of the small, nondescript grey building are the only hint of the brisk business this downtown Toronto cannabis dispensary does behind closed doors.
Once inside, two men behind a white desk under a vintage chandelier ask patrons to provide government identification and fill out a membership form. Then, customers are allowed to enter another room through a steel door, where an array of pot products are on display in a glass case.

Greece eyes pot of gold as medicinal cannabis licensed
Greece on Monday issued the first licences to private companies for growing medicinal cannabis in the country, part of an attempt to tap a burgeoning market worth billions.
Greece legalised cannabis for medical use last year and in March lifted a ban on growing and producing it. Two licences were granted on Monday, and another 12 will be issued by the end of this year, the Economy and Development Ministry said.

Canadian cannabis investor gets lifetime U.S. entry ban as conference goers face scrutiny at border
A Canadian investor travelling to Las Vegas, Nevada, to attend a prominent cannabis conference and tour a new cannabis facility has been issued a lifetime entry ban to the United States, according to an immigration lawyer he consulted.
"He was travelling straight from Vancouver to Vegas. When they found out he was going down to tour the marijuana facility and that he was an investor in marijuana, they gave him a lifetime ban," said Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer based in the border town of Blaine, Wash., who was consulted by the individual after receiving the ban.

38 Cannabis Products Can Be Freely Sold In Mexico
In Mexico, the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) deregulated 38 products made from or with cannabis to be sold. This is the first time that marijuana products are allowed to be legally sold in Mexico.
Out of those 38 products, 21 are supplements, nine are cosmetic, six are food and two are raw materials. In order to pass the tests and be able sell those products, they need to contain less than 1 percent of THC (a psychotropic component) in their composition.

Human clinical trials of cannabis as medicine
Government scientists are preparing for India's first human clinical trials to test cannabis-based compounds on select diseases in line with what they say is a global resurgence in the medical applications of marijuana derivatives.
The researchers have sought regulatory approval for a trial to evaluate these compounds on cancer patients at the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai. They are also planning trials in other hospitals for a difficult-to-treat form of epilepsy and a blood disorder called sickle cell anaemia.





South Korea - First East Asian Country to Legalize Medical Marijuana
According to anti-drug laws in force in South Korea, the country's citizens who smoke, possess, buy, or sell cannabis face imprisonment of up to 5 years or are obligated to pay a fine of up to 100,000 million Korean won (around $88,000). Despite the existing legislation, South Korean authorities approved the medical use of cannabis this week.
On 25 November, the South Korean National Assembly approved using cannabis for medical purposes through an amendment to national Management of Narcotic Drugs Act (MNDA), as some 'treatment effects' of using marijuana have been proven.

Ancient Viruses Are Probably Why Weed Has THC and CBD
Humans have been consuming cannabis for millennia, but scientists are still largely in the dark about the devil's lettuce. Thanks to new research, we now have a potential answer to one enduring pot science mystery: Why does weed have the special chemical compounds that affect humans, and other plants don't?
I speak, of course, of THC and CBD, compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in cannabis and have various effects on humans. THC is well-known as the main psychoactive component in cannabis (i.e. it gets you high), and CBD has recently become fashionable as an ingredient in everything from drinks to cosmetics.

First medical cannabis prescription made after change to UK law
A former university lecturer is believed to be the first patient in the UK to be prescribed cannabis by a doctor, following the legalisation of the drug for medical use.
Carly Barton, 32, who used to teach fine art, developed fibromyalgia, which leaves her in constant pain, after a stroke in her early twenties. For years, she has used cannabis illegally to control her symptoms. But in a UK first, Ms Barton was prescribed medicinal cannabis last month by Dr David McDowell, a private pain specialist.

As demand for craft B.C. cannabis takes off, distributors want to recruit small-batch growers
A month into legalization, the demand for B.C. cannabis companies is taking off and one company that sells products grown by smaller cultivators is looking to recruit more growers from across B.C.
Cannmart, owned by international cannabis eCommerce company, Namaste Technologies, sells products online grown by cultivators who grow smaller batches of cannabis in Nelson, B.C. Sellers say cannabis produced in smaller batches is of higher quality and more potent than cannabis that is grown in large facilities.

Growing hemp is about to be legal for the first time in nearly a century
Congress just reached an agreement on proposed legislation that could make hemp legal to grow in the United States for the first time in nearly a century. Hemp may be derived from the same plant as marijuana, but it doesn't make anyone high and is commonly used in food, fuel, and bracelets. The new legislation officially acknowledges the difference between the two.
Technically speaking, hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Though its derivatives have been used for everything from textiles to medicine, hemp is currently everywhere in the form of a trendy ingredient called cannabidiol (CBD). Manufacturers promise that CBD will alleviate pain and depression and other health issues (despite a lack of solid evidence for many claims), yet CBD has lived in a legal gray area for years because of the tricky legal history of hemp.

Aphria Stock Price Plunges 25% After Report Calling It 'Black Hole'
Shares of cannabis producer Aphria Inc. plunged after short-sellers called the Canadian company a "black hole" and alleged that its recent international acquisitions totalling $280-million were "largely worthless."
Quintessential Capital Management and Hindenburg research alleged in a report published online Monday that the Leamington, Ont.- based pot grower had acquired foreign companies in countries including Jamaica, Argentina and Colombia at "vastly inflated" prices and in ways that it believes benefit a group of insiders.

Michigan to be first Midwest state to allow recreational pot
Michigan clears a threshold this week as the first state in the Midwest to allow marijuana for more than just medical purposes. In the Nov. 6 election, voters by a wide margin endorsed recreational use by adults who are at least 21. The move comes 10 years after voters approved marijuana to alleviate the effects of certain illnesses. Many supporters believe that decadelong experience, as well as similar legalization efforts in other states, led to victory at the ballot box.
"It's certainly going to smell like freedom," starting Thursday, said Detroit lawyer Matt Abel, who specializes in marijuana law and whose office sign says, "cannabis counsel."

Falsified California testing lab data may result in major marijuana product recall
Sacramento-based Sequoia Analytical Labs surrendered its business license after a state inspection discovered that the company's lab director allegedly falsified cannabis product testing results for almost four months. Hundreds of marijuana products may now have to be recalled and retested. The loss of a lab could pose a significant problem for the California cannabis industry heading into January, when more testing requirements will go into effect for toxins such as heavy metals.

Marlboro maker places $1.8 billion bet on marijuana
One of the world's biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $1.8 billion buy-in. Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday. The agreement includes a warrant to acquire additional shares over the next four years that could give the Altria, which is based in Richmond, Virginia, a 55 percent ownership stake in the Toronto company.
That would mean Altria's investment would be in the same league as the $4 billion spent earlier this year by Constellation Brands to acquire shares of Canopy Growth Corp., another Canadian pot producer.

HUGE News: Luxembourg to Legalize Cannabis
Cannabis is set to be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg according to the new ruling coalition in Parliament. During a late November press conference held by the Socialist Workers Party, the Democratic Party and the Greens, the coalition partners announced that not only was full legalization on their agenda, but that the change is overdue.
According to Bill Wirtz, a policy analyst at the group Consumer Choice Center, a Luxembourg-based consumer rights group, "Luxembourg will become the first country in the EU to actually legalise cannabis, as the Czech Republic, Portugal, or the Netherlands either tolerate or decriminalise it. This sends a strong message to other countries in the EU. The ice is broken."

Shoppers Drug Mart Gets License To Sell Medical Marijuana Online
Shoppers Drug Mart has been granted a licence to sell medical marijuana online.
Health Canada's list of authorized cannabis sellers and producers has been updated to reflect that the pharmacy can sell dried and fresh cannabis, as well as plants, seeds and oil. A website has been set up by the company, which says that patients "with a valid medical document will soon be able to purchase a wide selection of medical cannabis products" from Shoppers.

Nevada awards 61 more recreational marijuana dispensary licenses
A few cannabis companies are reaping riches after the latest Nevada dispensary licensing round. Green Growth Brands and TapRoot Holdings have each been awarded seven licenses to operate in the state, while GreenMart NLV took home four.
This month Nevada awarded 61 conditional recreational dispensary licenses, including 31 in Clark County. Currently, there are 65 dispensaries operating in the state.

Medicinal cannabis bill passes, with regulated market promised within a year and a legal defence until then
The Government has passed its medicinal cannabis bill, which will establish a regulated scheme within a year and give those close to death a legal defence before then.
After a long road to third reading the bill passed on Tuesday afternoon with the support of Labour, the Greens, and NZ First. Both the Greens and NZ First won some concessions to the bill, which has been criticised by medicinal marijuana advocates for not going far enough - and by National as "decriminalisation by stealth".

Recreational marijuana could come to New York State in 2019
Cannabis legalization advocates expect New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to call on the legislature to legalize recreational marijuana during his first budget address in 2019.
"We're drafting legislation," Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, told NBC News on Tuesday, when asked about decriminalizing weed.

New Zealand passes laws to make medical marijuana widely available
New Zealand's government has passed a law that will make medical marijuana widely available for thousands of patients over time, after years of campaigning by chronically ill New Zealanders who say the drug is the only thing that eases their pain.
The legislation will also allow terminally ill patients to begin smoking illegal pot immediately without facing the possibility of prosecution. The health minister, David Clarke, said thousands of New Zealanders were living with chronic and end-of-life pain and the evidence that marijuana could safely help ease their suffering was sound.

Michigan bill to ban growing marijuana at home flames out
Marijuana enthusiasts will be able to grow pot at home after all as the state Senate failed on Thursday to muster a supermajority vote to make changes to the recreational marijuana ballot proposal voters approved in the Nov. 6 election.
The biggest change in the bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-Grand Haven, would have dropped the provision that would allow people to grow 12 plants at home for personal use.
Meekhof said he wanted to prevent a flood of marijuana into neighbourhoods by people growing their own pot, but by 8:30 p.m. Thursday, it became clear that he didn't have the three-quarters supermajority vote necessary to make changes to the ballot proposal.

Barbados to Legalise Medical Cannabis, Hold Referendum on Recreational Legalisation
Barbados is preparing to create a domestic medical cannabis industry and will hold a referendum on broader legalisation, the prime minister has said.
Speaking earlier this month, Prime Minister Mia Mottley stated that "there is no doubt that we will put a framework in place for medical cannabis within the next week or so. In fact, we have more or less taken a decision, we just need some refining and training with practitioners."

Trudeau Says Opponents of Cannabis Legalization Are the "Chattering Classes" Who've Been "Caught Flat Footed"
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded to questions about cannabis shortage by blaming opponents of the landmark law change.
Although Ottawa's move was widely popular throughout Canada, summer's decision to legalize pot did draw some resistance. In the wake of nationwide recreational marijuana legalization in October, dispensaries throughout the North American nation experienced shortages, with some forced to shut their doors to customers due to lack of supply. Speaking specifically about shortages experienced in the province of Quebec, Trudeau took aim at some municipal governments and their supporters who oppose legal weed.

Novartis' Sandoz Expands Cannabis Alliance with Tilray into Global Partnership
Novartis' Sandoz unit is expanding its six-month-old Canadian partnership with Tilray into a global collaboration focused on researching, commercializing, and distributing medical cannabis, Tilray said today.
The expanded collaboration - whose value was not disclosed - comes six months after Tilray and Sandoz Canada agreed to make available eight co-branded non-combustible medical cannabis products to the 270,000 Canadian patients using medical cannabis through Health Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The eight products included cannabis capsules and ingestible oils.

New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum in 2020
New Zealanders will vote on legalising recreational cannabis in a referendum during the 2020 general election, the country's justice minister said.
A vote was promised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party last year during cross-party talks, which helped to form a coalition government. It comes a week after lawmakers gave medicinal cannabis the green light.

Health Canada Releases Draft Rules For Cannabis Edibles
Canadians won't be allowed to buy cannabis-infused booze when other marijuana-laced "edibles" become legal next fall, under new rules the federal government proposed Thursday.
The regulations say cannabis-infused alcoholic products would not be permitted in Canada, except where the alcohol content is minimal, such as in tinctures meant to be consumed a few drops at a time, and they would have to be labelled as non-alcoholic.
Packaging or labelling beer or wine products together with cannabis would also be prohibited, to reduce the risk of people mixing the two substances, which has been deemed a health risk. And companies that produce alcoholic drinks wouldn't be allowed to put their names or brands on cannabis drinks.

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act and the agency’s regulation of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds
Today, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 was signed into law. Among other things, this new law changes certain federal authorities relating to the production and marketing of hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.), and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low (less than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis) concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These changes include removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law.

Canadians bought $43M worth of marijuana in the first 2 weeks after legalization
Statistics Canada says sales at cannabis stores in the two weeks after legalization totalled $43 million.
The agency started collecting data for in-store and online sales from cannabis retailers as of Oct. 17, when fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds became legal for recreational use in the country.

Thailand approves medical marijuana in New Year's 'gift'
Thailand approved marijuana for medical use and research on Tuesday, the first legalization of the drug in a region with some of the world's strictest drug laws.
The junta-appointed parliament in Thailand, a country which until the 1930s had a tradition of using marijuana to relieve pain and fatigue, voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 in an extra parliamentary session handling a rush of bills before the New Year's holidays.
"This is a New Year's gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people," said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the drafting committee, in a televised parliamentary session.

Bill would bar workers from being fired for private pot use
A proposed law in Massachusetts would bar employers from firing workers for using marijuana legally on their own time.
While recreational marijuana use is legal for adults in the state, workers can still be fired for using the drug, even if it's outside of work and its effects have worn off by the time they return to their jobs.
The Boston Globe reports the measure filed by Democratic state Sen. Jason Lewis would treat marijuana much like alcohol. Employees could be fired for showing up to work impaired, but employers could not police the private use of pot.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, prosperous and successful New Year for 2019!