House Judiciary Passes MORE Act to Decriminalize Marijuana at Federal Level

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Nov 20, 2019

Washington, D.C. –Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, by a vote of 24-10. The MORE Act is one of the most comprehensive marijuana reforms bills ever introduced in the U.S. Congress. The MORE Act aims to correct the historical injustices of failed drug policies that have disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities by decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, reassessing marijuana convictions, and investing in local communities. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris introduced the companion bill in the Senate.

Yesterday, Chairman Nadler and other Members of Congress held a press conference to highlight the legislation. Watch here.

“I have long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake, and the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake,” said Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “While states have led the way in reform, our federal laws have not kept pace with the obvious need for change. With the passage of the MORE Act today, the Judiciary Committee has taken long overdue steps to address the devastating injustices caused by the War on Drugs and to finally decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.”
“As more states legalize marijuana, millions of Americans with marijuana-related convictions continue to face overwhelming barriers to jobs, education, and housing,” said Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). “That is why we must act to remove the burden of marijuana convictions and make sure these individuals have the support needed to move forward. It is also critical that everyone — especially people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs — has a real opportunity to participate in this growing industry. This is a matter of racial and economic justice. I am grateful for Chairman Nadler’s partnership on this issue and for his leadership in moving this legislation forward. I look forward to the House of Representatives passing our legislation soon.”

“This is an incredible step forward in righting the wrongs of the failed and racist War on Drugs. The federal government has lagged behind as states continue to modernize how we regulate and decriminalize cannabis. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus, I’ll keep pushing to ensure Congress makes our cannabis policies are fair, equitable, and inclusive,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). “I applaud Chairman Nadler for his leadership, and look forward to seeing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act get a vote on the House floor.”

“This will be one of the most historic events in our movement,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). “The MORE Act is the most comprehensive cannabis legislation to date. I am proud to have worked with Chairman Nadler to develop this bill and applaud his leadership to bring it in front of the committee. This is a major step forward. We are making outstanding progress in our blueprint to end the federal prohibition of cannabis and address the injustice brought on by the war on drugs.”

“With today’s mark-up of the MORE Act, the United States is coming one step closer to ending the devastating harms of marijuana prohibition, which have fallen so heavily on Black and Brown people,” said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This legislation won’t make up for the full scale of harm that prohibition has caused to its victims. It’s not going to return anyone their lost dreams, time lost at the mercy of the criminal justice system; or the years spent away from their families. But this legislation is the closest we’ve come yet to not only ending those harms at the federal level, but also beginning to repair them. Now it’s up to Congress to do the right thing and swiftly pass the bill to ensure justice is not delayed a moment longer.”
“We’re thrilled that House Judiciary made history today by voting the MORE Act out of Committee,” said Ed Chung, Vice President for Criminal Justice Reform at American Progress. “This represents a significant victory for marijuana reform and for communities of color that have borne the brunt of this country’s punitive drug enforcement policies. The House must build on today’s momentum and swiftly move the MORE Act to the floor for a vote from the full body. Congress has an extraordinary opportunity to ensure equity leads today’s marijuana reform policy.”

“The House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is a significant step towards ending the failed war on drugs and correcting some of the harms that it has caused,” said Charlotte Resing, Policy Analyst, ACLU. “The bill not only deschedules marijuana at the federal level, but it also provides a roadmap for states to legalize in a just and equitable manner. The MORE Act also provides resentencing and expungement for those with marijuana convictions and mandates the inclusion of those most impacted by the criminalization of marijuana in the newly legal marijuana industry. The ACLU is pleased to support the MORE Act and its efforts to counter the over-criminalization, over policing, and mass incarceration stemming from the war on drugs.”

“The passage of the MORE Act represents the first time that the Judiciary Committee has ever had a successful vote to end the cruel policy of marijuana criminalization,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Not only does the bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered most. In 2018 alone, over 663,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana related crimes, a three-year high. Now that Chairman Nadler has moved the MORE Act through committee, it is time for the full House to vote and have every member of Congress show their constituents which side of history they stand on.”

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act:

  • Decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level by removing the substance from the Controlled Substances Act. This applies retroactively to prior and pending convictions, and enables states to set their own policy.
  • Requires federal courts to expunge prior convictions, allows prior offenders to request expungement, and requires courts, on motion, to conduct re-sentencing hearings for those still under supervision.
  • Authorizes the assessment of a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products to create an Opportunity Trust Fund, which includes three grant programs:
    • The Community Reinvestment Grant Program: Provides services to the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, including job training, re-entry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth recreation, mentoring, and substance use treatment. 
    • The Cannabis Opportunity Grant Program: Provides funds for loans to assist small businesses in the marijuana industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
    • The Equitable Licensing Grant Program: Provides funds for programs that minimize barriers to marijuana licensing and employment for the individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.
  • Opens up Small Business Administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers.
  • Provides non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession, and for prior convictions for a marijuana offense:
    • Prohibits the denial of any federal public benefit (including housing) based on the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense.
    • Provides that the use or possession of marijuana, or prior conviction for a marijuana offense, will have no adverse impact under the immigration laws.
  • Requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry to ensure people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged are participating in the industry.

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SOURCE

S. 2227: MORE Act of 2019

LINK TO DOWNLOAD PDF

The shocking story behind Richard Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ that targeted blacks and anti-war activists

Scholar @Mark_J_Perry   June 14, 2018

This Sunday, June 17 will mark the 47th anniversary of a shameful day in US history — it’s when President Richard Nixon’s declared what has been the US government’s longest and costliest war — the epic failure known as the War on Drugs. At a press conference on that day in 1971, Nixon identified drug abuse as “public enemy number one in the United States” and launched a failed, costly and inhumane federal war on Americans that continues to today. Early the following year, Nixon created the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) in January 1972 to wage a government war on otherwise peaceful and innocent Americans who voluntarily chose to ingest plants, weeds, and intoxicants proscribed by the government. In July 1973, ODALE was consolidated, along with several other federal drug agencies, into the newly established Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a new “super agency” to handle all aspects of the War on Drugs Otherwise Peaceful Americans.

But as John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s counsel and Assistant for Domestic Affairs, revealed in 1994, the real public enemy in 1971 wasn’t really drugs or drug abuse. Rather the real enemies of the Nixon administration were the anti-war left and blacks, and the War on Drugs was designed as an evil, deceptive and sinister policy to wage a war on those two groups. In an article in the April 2016 issue of The Atlantic (“Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs“) author and reporter Dan Baum explains how “John Ehrlichman, the Watergate co-conspirator, unlocked for me one of the great mysteries of modern American history: How did the United States entangle itself in a policy of drug prohibition that has yielded so much misery and so few good results?” As Baum discovered, here’s the dirty and disgusting secret to that great mystery of what must be the most expensive, shameful, and reprehensible failed government policy in US history.

Americans have been criminalizing psychoactive substances since San Francisco’s anti-opium law of 1875, but it was Ehrlichman’s boss, Richard Nixon, who declared the first “War on Drugs” in 1971 and set the country on the wildly punitive and counterproductive path it still pursues. I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away.

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Nixon’s invention of the War on Drugs as a political tool was cynical, but every president since — Democrat and Republican alike — has found it equally useful for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the growing cost of the Drug War is now impossible to ignore: billions of dollars wasted, bloodshed in Latin America and on the streets of our own cities, and millions of lives destroyed by draconian punishment that doesn’t end at the prison gate; one of every eight black men has been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction.

MP: As much as Prohibition (The War on Alcohol) was also an expensive, epic and misguided failure of government policy, it didn’t have its origins in any type of equivalent sinister and evil plot like the War on Drugs to destroy enemies of the Woodrow Wilson administration in 1919. In fact, President Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, but the House and Senate both voted quickly to override the veto and America started the War on Alchohol Otherwise Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Chose to Ingest Beer, Wine, and Spirits in 1920.

If the real goal of the War on Drugs was to target, convict and incarcerate subversive anti-war “hippies” and black Americans, as Ehrlichman describes it, it sure worked as the chart above of the male incarceration rate in the US shows. During the nearly 50-year period between 1925 and the early 1970s, the male incarceration rate was remarkably stable at about 200 men per 100,000 population, or 1 US male per 500, according to data from Bureau of Justice Statistics. By 1986, about a decade after the War on Drugs started locking up drug users and dealers in cages, the male incarceration rate doubled to 400 per 100,000 population. Then within another decade, the male incarceration rate doubled again to more than 800 by 1996 before reaching a historic peak of 956 in 2008 (about one in 100) that was almost five times higher than the stable rate before the War on Drugs. The arrest and incarceration data show that the War on Drugs had a significantly much greater negative effect on blacks and Hispanics than whites, making the Drug War even more shameful for its devastating and disproportionate adverse effects on America’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

Since the 2008 peak, the male incarceration rate has been gradually declining in each of the last seven years of available data through 2016, possibly because of three trends: a) decriminalization of weeds at the city and state level, b) the legalization of medical weeds at the state level, and c) now legalization of recreational weeds at the city and state levels.

While there could have been other factors that contributed to the nearly five-fold increase in the male incarceration rate between the early 1970s and the peak in 2008, research clearly shows that the War on Drugs, along with mandatory minimum sentencing in the 1980s and the disparate treatment of powdered cocaine and “crack cocaine” (powdered cocaine processed with baking soda into smokable rocks) were all significant contributing factors to the unprecedented rate of incarcerating Americans. Here are some conclusions from the 2014 book The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (my emphasis):

  1. The states’ combined incarceration rates increased across all crime categories between 1980 and 2010 (see chart above). Most striking, however, is the dramatic increase in the incarceration rate for drug-related crimes. In 1980, imprisonment for drug offenses was rare, with a combined state incarceration rate of 15 per 100,000 population. By 2010, the drug incarceration rate had increased nearly 10-fold to 143 per 100,000. Indeed, the rate of incarceration for the single category of drug-related offenses, excluding local jails and federal prisons, by itself exceeds by 50% the average incarceration rate for all crimes of Western European countries and is twice the average incarceration rate for all crimes of a significant number of European countries.
  2. Arrest rates for federal drug offenses climbed in the 1970s, and mandatory prison time for these offenses became more common in the 1980s. Mandatory prison sentences, intensified enforcement of drug laws, and long sentences contributed not only to overall high rates of incarceration but also especially to extraordinary rates of incarceration in black and Latino communities. Intensified enforcement of drug laws subjected blacks, more than whites, to new mandatory minimum sentences—despite lower levels of drug use and no higher demonstrated levels of trafficking among the black than the white population.
  3. As a result of the lengthening of sentences and greatly expanded drug law enforcement and imprisonment for drug offenses, criminal defendants became more likely to be sentenced to prison and remained there significantly longer than in the past. The policy shifts that propelled the growth in incarceration had disproportionately large effects on African Americans and Latinos. Indeed, serving time in prison has become a normal life event among recent birth cohorts of African American men who have not completed high school.

Bottom Line: Even without the nefarious, vile, and veiled origins revealed by Ehrlichman in 1994, the War on Drugs Otherwise Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Choose To Ingest or Sell Intoxicants Currently Proscribed by the Government, Which Will Lock Up Users or Sellers in Cages if Caught would represent one of the most shameful chapters in America’s history. But with its intention to destroy the black community and anti-war peace activists, which has certainly been “successfully” achieved for the black community, the shamefulness of the War on Drugs is elevated to a much higher level of despicable, evil immorality.

Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry

Scholar

CONTINUE READING…

On Tuesday, November 5th, WE Must Be The Change In Kentucky! Vote HICKS/CORMICAN! This Is Why…

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On Tuesday, November 5th, the most important election in Kentucky in many years is about to happen!

I am not here to argue with anyone.  I am here to present the facts and my opinion as I see it.

Therefore,

First of all, you must vote to see change!  If you are eligible to Vote and are registered to do so – You must VOTE!  It is your Civic Duty.  And if you are eligible to vote but did not register, shame on you!

IF you want a change in your Government, you have to vote for the people who will CHANGE the way things are being done in           Kentucky!

You CANNOT vote for a Democrat or Republican and expect anything to change – only to get worse!  So if that is what you want, then go for it!

Otherwise, BE THE CHANGE that Kentucky must have in order to succeed!  John Hicks and Ann Cormican – Libertarian are running for the most important office in the State.  That is where we must start!  At the top!

On November 1st, Rep. Jason Nemes prefiled this years “medical marijuana bill” for Kentucky.  It will become House Bill 136 when the Session opens in January, and if it passes we will once again become Slaves to the system!  A few points on the Bill as written are:

*  Department for Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control to implement and regulate the medicinal marijuana program in Kentucky;

*  establish the Division of Medicinal Marijuana within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control;

establish restrictions on the possession of medicinal marijuana by qualifying patients, visiting patients, and designated caregivers;

*  establish certain protections for cardholders;

*  establish professional protections for practitioners; to provide for the authorizing of practitioners by state licensing boards to issue written certifications for the use medicinal marijuana;

*  establish professional protections for attorneys;

* prohibit the possession and use of medicinal marijuana while operating a motor vehicle;

to prohibit smoking of medicinal marijuana;

* to permit an employer to restrict the possession and use of medicinal marijuana by an employee;

*  to require the department to implement and operate a registry identification card program; to establish requirements for registry identification cards; to establish registry identification card fees; to require the department to operate a provisional licensure receipt system; to establish the application requirements for a registry identification card; to establish when the department may deny an application for a registry identification card;

*  establish certain responsibilities for cardholders; to establish when a registry identification card may be revoked;

*  establish various cannabis business licensure categories; to establish tiering of cannabis business licenses; to require certain information be included in an application for a cannabis business license; to establish when the department may deny an application for a cannabis business license;

*  to establish rules for local sales, including establishing the process by which a local legislative body may prohibit the operation of cannabis businesses within its territory and the process for local ordinances and ballot initiatives;

*  establish technical requirements for cannabis businesses;

to establish limits on the THC content of medicinal marijuana that can be produced or sold in the state;

*  to establish requirements for cannabis cultivators, including cultivation square footage limits; to establish requirements for cannabis dispensaries; to establish requirements for safety compliance facilities; to establish requirements for cannabis processors; to establish procedures for the department to inspect cannabis businesses;

to exempt certain records and information from the disclosure under the Kentucky Open Records Act;

*  to establish that nothing in the bill requires government programs or private insurers to reimburse for the cost of use; to establish the medicinal marijuana trust fund; to establish the local medicinal marijuana trust fund; and to establish procedures for the distribution of local cannabis trust fund moneys;

*  create a new section of KRS Chapter 138 to establish an excise tax of 12% for cultivators and processors for selling to dispensaries; to require that 80% of the revenue from the excise taxes be deposited into the medicinal marijuana trust fund; to require that 20% of the revenue from the excise taxes be deposited into the local medicinal marijuana trust fund; amend KRS 342.815 to establish that the Employer’s Mutual Insurance Authority shall not be required to provide coverage to an employer if doing so would subject the authority to a violation of state or federal law;

Is this what you want?

The above is not all inclusive of the regulations, and they will no doubt change again when it is introduced in January.  Read the Bill!

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Please note that there are NO provisions for “smokable cannabis”, and NO mention of Children’s rights either.  There are NO provisions for growing your own plants, and this BILL in my opinion is being promoted for the Corporate/Pharmaceutical industry. 

Out of all the Bills previously submitted for “medical” or “adult use” Cannabis in Kentucky this is the worst one yet!  Do not fall for the legal lies which they are feeding you because they are preying on your fears for your Children’s needs, mostly.  The fact is, what M.D., is going to give you permission or a written statement that will give you the right to medicate your child with Cannabis?  The answer to that is virtually none, and if there was even one that WOULD do it there is no guarantee that you will be able to access that Physician!

The bill would prohibit the smoking of marijuana for medical purposes, but would allow other forms of consumption, such as edibles, oils and pills.  A 12% excise tax is proposed for cultivators and processors for selling to dispensaries.  LINK

I have consulted with several other Senior Activists in Kentucky over this issue and we all surmised basically the same opinions on the matter!  This is in NO way a repeal of prohibition of Cannabis and in no way will it ascertain our rights to this plant – medically or otherwise.  It is however, worth some $$$ to Corporate Ventures and Kentucky Government as it now stands!

In my opinion, for those parents who have seriously ill children in need of this medicine they need to consider moving to a honest medical cannabis State such as Colorado or elsewhere.  For those who are unable to do this due to financial situations we must set up a fund to enable them to do so.  I can honestly say that if it were my child that is exactly what I would do!  Not because I want to leave my home in Kentucky, but because my Childs life is more important and I would be compelled to do so, IF John Hicks and Ann Cormican are not elected. 

The “Undergreen Railroad” is one such organization.  I will look into this organization further, especially if Hicks/Cormican are not elected, because you all are going to need it!

Finally, we come to the third candidate in the governor’s race. Libertarian John Hicks. John is a Vietnam Era Army veteran, a former school teacher, and currently an IT consultant. He has a BA Degree in Political Science and History. He has never held political office, but ran previously for State Representative (District 43) in 2018. John is pro-life and believes government should stay out of personal issues.
John supports the legalization of marijuana, expanded gaming, and the development of hemp as sources of additional state revenue (better than raising taxes!). He also believes that the best way to compensate for budget shortfalls is to reduce the size of government and streamlining operations. Additionally, John Hicks supports election reform; specifically by introducing run-offs, using ranked choice voting, proportional representation, multi member districts which would end partisan gerrymandering.
   LINK

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Manages Kentucky Open Source Society

John Hicks IS qualified for the position of Governor, as he IS ONE OF US!  He will bring us liberty and fight for OUR rights as Kentucky Citizens!

We need to show the entire Country what Kentucky can do when faced with such a dire situation – It’s not just about Cannabis – It is about Liberty and  Justice for All!

Please make the right choice for our State, our Families, our Children, and our Country!

Do not condemn Our State once again!

God Bless You All

smkrider

11/3/2019

https://www.facebook.com/HicksForKentucky/

https://www.facebook.com/hicksforkygov/

https://www.facebook.com/jason.nemes.1/posts/3321913687848659

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3321910424515652&set=a.170767459629980&type=3&theater

https://legislature.ky.gov/Legislators/Pages/Legislator-Profile.aspx?DistrictNumber=33

https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/20rs/prefiled/BR366.html?fbclid=IwAR1A_cH3LEwMDixbcMN1o5u5XrRB-gFQZM4qmAaZXrIZa9aYUjEjmeA4vgE

https://www.facebook.com/johnrhicks?__tn__=%2Cd-]-h-R&eid=ARANzRCvypZKWWjzlKWQixSeBkF7a97sNZINNMIU-dY8JZZgHxFfuPbr1urQ6ro5Ui9nfNGocWfFP88Z

http://www.anotheropinionblog.com/2019/11/the-2019-kentucky-election-main-event.html?fbclid=IwAR2vzCm-4QDieeyVDP2XKDUtgvSHkcivekuOVKzOCd2JiYaFJEGca1AFr7o

https://www.wlky.com/article/kentucky-lawmaker-prefiles-bill-to-legalize-medical-marijuana/29669383?fbclid=IwAR2a8kMPicpnBgioaeKcHaEoYxiuBNGC3bzvwhGsb10DS7DoVeHIMu3wBD0#

http://www.ladybud.com/2014/01/14/the-undergreen-railroad-helping-patients-relocate-for-cannabis-access/

The great race to become the World’s weed supplier

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Submitted by Marijuana News on Fri, 10/11/2019

Companies vying to be the biggest cannabis producer in America or Canada are wasting their time and suffering from a crippling lack of vision. The real play is to make a bid to become the worldwide leader in global cannabis exports — like firms in Jamaica and Lesotho as well as Canada are attempting to do — and the window of time to get in is closing fast, according to one entrepreneur with clear-cut plans to curb that market.

Though recreational cannabis is now available in two countries, medical marijuana is legal in about 50 and not every country produces adequate supply to fulfill domestic demand. Over the long-term, the thinking goes, cannabis will become like any other agricultural commodity and production will shift to the locale where costs are lowest. But so far, the limited export game has been dominated by a few players, most of whom are either occupying a very limited lane or banking on the future.

An example of the former, Bedrocan in the Netherlands, produces cannabis solely for the government authority, which then exports most of it to Germany. Bophelo Bioscience and Wellness, a startup recently acquired by a Canadian-firm and based in tiny Lesotho, the first country in Africa to legalize cannabis, is an example of the latter. Somewhere else is a company like Fotmer Life Sciences in Uruguay, which is hoping to supplant both.

The world’s most popular illicit drug, cannabis boasts at least 263 million users worldwide, according to a New Frontier Data estimate, who in turn consume $340 billion worth annually, most of which is still on the underground market. At the moment, with so few legal companies producing cannabis and even fewer exporting, it’s a seller’s market. That state of play — flux, uncertainty, opportunity — will last only about another five years, said Jordan Lewis, an American entrepreneur who is Fotmer’s CEO.

Fotmer was in the news much last week as the company prepared its first shipment of export cannabis: 22 pounds, headed for medical cannabis patients in Australia. After that, Fotmer hopes to start competing with Bedrocan and begin shipping cannabis flower and oil to Germany, with up to 220 pounds or so per month headed out of the country to global customers, as he told Reuters.

Most of that will go to Europe, which “right now represents the single largest market in the next five years,” Lewis told Supplychainbrain.com.

The window for producers to charge high prices, before a reliable global supply floods the market, is now through 2024, he added, with high THC oils and plants to preserve their value longer than CBD products.

The modest first shipment is a tiny fraction of the company’s capacity. Fotmer currently has government approval to produce up to 10 tons of flower and 5 tons of oil, said Lewis — who added that he’s asking the Uruguayan government to allow him to grow 15 times that, in order to curb that global market. (He’s also shopping for a “large strategic partner” to provide the estimated $60 million of start-up capital needed to grow all that cannabis.)

If Lewis is right and producers in other companies join in, Fotmer may be well positioned to remain competitive, an outlook shared by other analysts. As New Frontier Data noted in a global market analysis released earlier this year, South America is considered a future hub for cannabis production thanks to an agreeable climate and low labor costs.

If countries decide that domestic suppliers are preferable and throw up tariffs, Lewis’s play could disappear. Or perhaps the best praxis is to play off of the incredible hype around the cannabis industry and get acquired. The point is that in a world obsessed with the next big thing, cannabis is very quickly approaching critical mass, and entrepreneurs are slowly catching on.

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Authored By: Cannabis Now

Article category: Marijuana Business News

Russia Says Canada Weed Legalization Is a ‘Breach’ of International Legal Obligations

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By Jason Lemon On 6/25/18

Russia has come out strongly against Canada’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana, calling the move a “breach” of its “international legal obligations.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that a number of international conventions, to which Canada is a signatory, require privy nations to restrict the use of cannabis and other drugs to only medical and scientific purposes.

“We expect Canada’s partners in the G-7 to respond to its ‘high-handedness’ because this alliance has repeatedly declared its adherence to the domination of international law in relations between states,” the ministry said in an official statement.

Last week, Canada became the second nation in the world and the first member of the wealthy G-7 to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The U.S. neighbor plans to implement the new regulations on October 17. Uruguay was the first nation to legalize recreational marijuana, with legislation passed in 2013.

Canada has previously endorsed the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention of Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 U.N. Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The U.S. is also a prominent signatory of the conventions. Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in nine states and the nation’s capital, the U.S. claims to be abiding by the conventions as cannabis remains completely illegal at the federal level.

Although President Barack Obama’s administration instructed federal law enforcement not to interfere in lawful marijuana businesses in states where it has been legalized, President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has urged federal agents to do the opposite. Opposition to legal marijuana at the federal level has also caused tensions with national banks and lawful cannabis businesses in the U.S.

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Top U.S. banks have refused to do business with Uruguayan banks that manage money from legal cannabis sales. U.S. banks have cited federal regulations against drug trafficking and money laundering. Sessions also reportedly warned Canadian lawmakers prior to Ottawa’s vote, saying that legalization could cause problems for Canadian citizens when entering the U.S.

Although it remains unclear whether banks will take a similar stance when it comes to Canada, Hannah Hetzer, senior international policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance, believes the U.S. neighbor’s prominence could shelter it from a similar fallout.

“It really remains to be seen if U.S. banks will do the same for Canadian banks,” Hetzer told Newsweek. “We might just see that U.S. banks decide to say nothing in this case,” she said but added that “it could create an obstacle” if banks decide to take a stance against Ottawa’s new policy.

Hetzer also argued that citing federal anti-trafficking and money laundering laws to block business surrounding legal marijuana is counterintuitive. She explained that legalization and regulation work precisely to combat and undermine the criminal market.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment when asked by Newsweek about how it would respond to Canada’s decision. The U.S. Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When it comes to Russia’s condemnation, Hetzer said she believes this will add up to little more than critical statements. “Canada is aware that there will be international opposition from some countries,” as well as that its move could “violate international drug control treaties,” Hetzer said. “But like Uruguay, Canada has said they are [legalizing marijuana] for the health and safety of their citizens,” she pointed out, explaining that the preamble to the international drug control treaty says that the health and welfare of mankind must be taken into consideration.

With just over 60 percent of Americans supporting legalized recreational marijuana, according to a January poll by Pew Research, and growing bipartisan support for decriminalization and legalization, some have suggested that the U.S. could potentially move to legalize at the federal level as well.

“Having a huge legal market in a mature, democratic neighbor is going to be a very significant signal to some of the holdouts that we have currently,” Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who leads the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, told Mother Jones prior to Ottawa’s decision. “It’s another step—not toward just legalization but also normalizing it.”

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40 YEARS FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT JUSTICE

GRANT CLEMENCY TO OUR SON EDWIN RUBIS – 40 YEARS FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT JUSTICE

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Jeremy Malone Huntsville, AL

Our son, Edwin Rubis, is serving a federal sentence of 40 years for a non-violent marijuana offense. [www.marijuanaliferproject.org/federal-prisoner-edwin-rubis-is-serving-life-for-marijuana/

At age 29, our son, while battling drug addiction, associated himself with drug couriers, and was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. After his arrest, his court-appointed attorney advised him, along with us, that he needed to provide information on others in the drug trade. Edwin could not provide such information. Therefore, he was quickly deemed “uncooperative”, and the judge gave him a harsh sentence – 40 years.

Edwin has been away from us for the last 19 years.

During the course of time, we have adamantly petitioned, and at times cried, for his early release, at every level of the court system. Sadly to say, we continue to struggle, missing him, with no positive resolution to obtain his freedom. Edwin’s children need him. We need him. Our son is not a terrorist, a rapist, a gang member, nor a violent individual to continually be kept in prison for decades for distributing marijuana. While imprisoned, Edwin has taken diligent steps to better himself. He has achieved numerous rehabilitation programs from the psychology and religious departments. He has graduated from college with a degree in Religious Education; and he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling and Therapist Certification. In addition, he serves as a mentor to others, under the supervision of the head chaplain. He is also working as a G.E.D. and E.S.L. tutor in the education department, at his present institution of confinement, helping others further their education. In addition, Edwin also finished a 2 year dental apprenticeship from The Department of Labor, and worked as a dental assistant for the last 7 years in the medical department.

We love our son, [uncle, father, and brother]. We wish for him to receive another chance at life. But our dream for him to be reunited with us, can not be accomplished without your full support.

Please help us obtain our son’s freedom by signing this petition urging President Donald Trump to grant our son clemency or a pardon.

Edwin is a changed man. He has been fully rehabilitated and deserves a second chance at life.

Sincerely, Maria Roque – and – Family.

PLEASE CONTINUE READING AND SIGN THE PETITION TO FREE THIS MAN NOW!

Ready to Join Organized Marijuana Medicine?

Robert Lowes

November 20, 2017

There’s a professional society for seemingly every kind of medical specialist, even cannabis clinicians.

Or medical marijuana physicians. Or pot doctors, in street parlance.

And just as there’s a choice of what to call physicians who use the plant to treat everything from pain to multiple sclerosis, there’s a choice of three different medical associations to represent them. Their emergence over the past 15 years coincides with the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 states and Washington, DC, and recreational marijuana in eight states and DC.

The three associations amount to friendly rivals that strive for professional respectability, which hasn’t always attended their field. David Bearman, MD, a board member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM), castigates medical marijuana dispensaries that have hired bikini-clad young women to lure passersby inside for a quick visit with an on-site clinician.

“We wanted to marginalize those people,” Dr Bearman told Medscape Medical News about the formation of his group.

The AACM, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), and the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association (AMMPA) all want to educate the public and the medical profession alike about marijuana and its therapeutic chemicals and see more research in this field. Despite strong headwinds from the federal government, one being an unsympathetic attorney general, they have high hopes for their work, which they say could become a bonafide medical specialty.

They have their own electronic medical marijuana record, for crying out loud.

Branching Out From California Roots

The SCC is the oldest of the three marijuana physician societies, formed in 2004 by the California Research Medical Group. That organization, in turn, was created by the late Tod Mikuriya, MD, who helped write the seminal 1996 ballot resolution in California that legalized medical marijuana and caught fire in other states.

Of the group’s roughly 350 members, about half are physicians in specialties as diverse as geriatrics, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and psychiatry, SCC President Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, told Medscape Medical News. Membership, which costs $150 a year, is open to any clinician, be it naturopath or nurse practitioner, who is authorized by his or her state to “recommend” medical marijuana (prescribing is reserved for legal drugs).  Membership has spread from the West Coast across the country and abroad.

The group offers, among other things, courses on medical marijuana good for continuing medical education (CME) credits, online quarterly meetings, and a collection of case reports on the group’s website (“Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, was treated with cannabis after failure of conventional therapy. Cancer disappeared after 4 years of regular cannabis use.”).

Physicians like Dr Hergenrather would argue that human beings are made for medical marijuana, given the body’s recently discovered endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are retrograde neurotransmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and help regulate pain, appetite, memory, immune response, and other bodily functions. Marijuana plants contain more than 100 biological cousins called phytocannabinoids — chief among them tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — that work like natural endocannabinoids to bring the body into balance, said Dr Hergenrather, a self-styled “cannabis consultant” in Sebastopol, California. Marijuana also contains molecules called terpenes that can reduce anxiety or control seizures, he said, but phytocannabinoids inspire the most medical interest.

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE….

Zero Cosponsors: Artificial Intelligence Gives Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 Just 1% Chance

Don Fitch | October 4, 2017

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, introduced by New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker, is exactly the criminal justice and health legislation this country so needs. Much like Bernie Sander’s bill in the last Congress, this act would not reschedule, but actually deschedule cannabis out of the Controlled Substance Act altogether. As its name implies, the passage of this act, S. 1689, would provide true marijuana justice in the USA. Tragically, it has received zero cosponsors in the Senate. An analysis by Skopos Lab artificial intelligence gives it only a 1% chance of being enacted.

The similar bill by Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Ver) in the last Congress likewise got no cosponsors, not even Cory Booker, and died. Similarly, neither Bernie Sanders nor any other senator has cosponsored the 2017 bill. A portion of GovTrack’s summary of S. 1689 follows:

The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), would end the federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all, by removing the drug from the DEA’s list of controlled substances entirely.

It would also apply retroactively, allowing for judicial review of anybody serving a prison sentence for drug possession. (Although virtually nobody in America goes to jail just for marijuana possession or use, the charge is often used to add time to a jail sentence primarily handed down for conviction of another drug-related crime such as selling or trafficking.)

Lastly, the bill would use federal expenditures to incentive states to legalize the drug “if those laws were shown to have a disproportionate effect on low-income individuals and/or people of color.” As Vox points out, that designation applies to almost every state. Therefore, this bill would effectively authorize federal expenditures to support nationwide legalization at the state level as well.

It was introduced as Senate bill number S. 1689. (Unfortunately, S. 420 was already taken.)

A version of the bill introduced into the House of Representative by Thomas Garrett (R-Vir) is doing better. With 15 House cosponsors, H.R. 1227: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 is given a 9% chance of passage by Skopos Labs. The 15 cosponsors are cannabis freedom fighters. They are:

The Senate (and House) have seen other action on the marijuana front. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden introduced S. 780: Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act of 2017. This act would not deschedule cannabis but does provide legal protection in legal states. The bill has a counterpart in the House, Earl Blumenauer’s H.R. 1824, now with seven cosponsors.

If your Senators and Representatives are absent on these important bills, call them and urge they cosponsor.

Don Fitch

Don Fitch

CONTINUE READING AND CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES!

Interest in cannabis liberation extends back to the 1960s for Don Fitch. Most of his career has been in high tech and pr … More!

Why Canadian marijuana companies are going public in 2017

Submitted by Marijuana News on Fri, 06/09/2017 – 08:45

The marijuana market in Canada is prepped for additional growth: several companies plan to go public in 2017 since the country’s regulations are more favorable, giving investors more options in this growing sector.

Companies are choosing to file their IPOs in Canada because of the more restrictive environment in the U.S., said Michael Berger, founder of Technical420, a Miami-based company that conducts research on cannabis stocks, and a former Raymond James energy analyst. The legal cannabis market expanded significantly during the past year and medical marijuana is now legal in countries such as Australia, Germany, Canada, Uruguay and Colombia.

By 2018, Canada’s legal recreational cannabis market should generate over $10 billion a year.

“One theme we recognized over the last year is an increasing number of companies listing on Canadian stock exchanges,” he said. “These companies are choosing to list in Canada due to better business policies.”

The number of registered patients is growing at a rapid pace in Canada as licensed producers continue to find innovative ways to create value for its shareholders. The number of patients is nearly 200,000 and growing 10% on a month over month basis, Berger said. The liquidity in the market is also beneficial for investors.

“In Canada, companies can use bank accounts, claim taxes, and write off business expenses legally unlike the U.S. where cannabis companies cannot do any of that and are frequently switching banks on account of their account being closed due to the focus on the cannabis industry,” he said.

The Canadian marijuana market and legislation is outpacing the U.S. because Canada has legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana on the federal level, said Jason Spatafora, co-founder of Marijuanastocks.com and a Miami-based trader and investor known as @WolfofWeedST on Twitter.

“Canada has allowed licensed producers of cannabis to take their companies public in a meaningful way compared to the U.S. since there are still American companies which do not touch the plant directly,” he said.

The Next Canadian Cannabis IPOs

A medical cannabis producer, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, is planning to go public in the second half of 2017, said Berger. The company cultivates medical marijuana under Health Canada from a 100-acre farm in Ancaster, Ontario and has already completed two oversubscribed financing rounds with over 2,500 investors, “which is a testament to the company’s leadership and success,” he said.

One factor investors need to consider is the track record of the management team and The Green Organic Dutchman has “one of the best in the industry,” Berger said. “The management team has a proven track record and they were the team that brought together OrganiGram (OGRMF) and Emblem Corp. (EMMBF), two successful Canadian licensed medical cannabis producers. Although the team’s role with those companies was different, they learned invaluable lessons which have also been implemented in this company.”

Compared to its competitors, the company has differentiated itself by growing organic cannabis and is levered to a market that is experiencing a 10% on a month-over-month basis on sales.

“The Organic Dutchman is part of a rapidly growing market, generates a strong balance sheet and consists of several strategic partners,” he said.

High Street Capital Partners, a New York-based real estate company that owns and operates cannabis cultivation facilities and dispensaries in 14 states across the U.S., could go public by the summer.

Although High Street is levered to the U.S. market, the company plans to list in Canada due to better regulatory environment. The company is an attractive opportunity since it has over 60% of the market share in Maine, 11 dispensaries in Illinois, one of the largest dispensaries in the Boston area and other attractive and profitable locations, said Berger.

Based in Ontario, CannTrust, a federally regulated licensed medical cannabis producer, is also planning to go public on the TSX this year. The company is an “attractive” opportunity, because it brings more than 40 years of pharmacy and healthcare experience to the cannabis industry. The company offers various proprietary products, operates out of a 40,000-square foot state-of-the-art hydroponic facility and its lab conducts testing and research on their products.

Risks in Cannabis Stocks

The risk of investing in IPOs for retail traders can be high, especially if they are not familiar with the industry since it is a nascent sector.

“For traders like myself IPOs are only interesting to me if they’re in an emerging market or if as a private company they have solved a problem or created a revenue generating efficiency,” said Spatafora. “IPOs do help fund innovation occasionally on a global sense, but they also pull liquidity from sectors and break hearts such as Snapchat.”

The most recent Canadian company to go public was medical producer Emblem Corp. (EMMBF), which went public on the TSX Venture Exchange in December 2016.

“This offering was nothing short of success,” said Berger. “Retail accredited investors purchased shares at $0.75 and $1.15 before the IPO. Once the shares commenced trading, Emblem was trading above the $3 level.”

Although the cannabis market is burgeoning, some newcomers could wind up not being profitable for several years. Choosing the winners is not always an exact science. Investors should be wary and conduct due diligence since popular stocks are not always profitable.

“Cannabis is an emerging market and as an investment it is a once in three generation opportunity that is barely through its first inning,” Spatafora said. “Just like dot com investors needed to pick their spots to invest in, people should not make just any marijuana investment.”

Investing in an early stage company is often riskier, said Berger.

“While the cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in the world, leaning to an influx in the number of cannabis companies going public, we have seen several highly anticipated IPOs not live up to expectations and burn through its working capital before being able to deliver on its promises,” he said. “Investors need to look into the company’s balance sheet and determine if it has enough capital to execute on its plan and to make sure its deploying capital to the right places and not on management’s salaries.”

CONTINUE READING…

The Origin of the Word ‘Marijuana’

Anna Wilcox

The word “marijuana” plays a controversial role in cannabis culture. Many well-known organizations such as Oakland’s Harborside Heath Center have publicly denounced “the M word” in favor of our favorite plant’s Latinate name, cannabis. Even Salon Magazine, a major press outlet outside of the cannabis industry, published an article titled “Is the word ‘Marijuana’ racist?” last year.

As mainstream culture becomes a little more herb-friendly, the terminology used by the industry is coming to center stage. But, why exactly does the term “marijuana” cause so much debate? Even worse, why has the word gained publicity as a racist term?

To save you from reading those lengthy history books or some boring academic articles, we’ve created this brief timeline to give you the low-down on “marijuana”’s rise to popularity in the United States. Here’s what you need to know:

The Mexican Revolution

1840-1900:

Prior to 1910, “marijuana” didn’t exist as a word in American culture. Rather, “cannabis” was used, most often in reference to medicines and remedies for common household ailments. In the early 1900s, what have now become pharmaceutical giants—Bristol-Meyer’s Squib and Eli Lilly—used to include cannabis and cannabis extracts in their medicines.

During this time, Americans (particularly elite Americans) were going through a hashish trend. Glamorized by literary celebrities such as Alexander Dumas, experimenting with cannabis products became a fad among those wealthy enough to afford imported goods.

1910:

Between the years of 1910 and 1920, over 890,000 Mexicans legally immigrated into the United States seeking refuge from the wreckage of civil war. Though cannabis had been a part of U.S. history since the country’s beginnings, the idea of smoking the plant recreationally was not as common as other forms of consumption. The idea of smoking cannabis entered mainstream American consciousness after the arrival of immigrants who brought the smoking habit with them.

1913:

The first bill criminalizing the cultivation of “locoweed” was passed in California. The bill was a major push from the Board of Pharmacy as a way to regulate opiates and psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and seemingly did not stem from the “reefer madness” or racialized understanding of “marijuana” that paved the way to full-on prohibition in the 1930s.

The Aftermath

1930s:

The Great Depression had just hit the United States, and Americans were searching for someone to blame. Due to the influx of immigrants (particularly in the South) and the rise of suggestive jazz music, many white Americans began to treat cannabis (and, arguably, the Blacks and Mexican immigrants who consumed it) as a foreign substance used to corrupt the minds and bodies of low-class individuals.

In the time just before the federal criminalization of the plant, 29 states independently banned the herb that came to be known as “marijuana.”

Harry Anslinger:

It would not be an overstatement to say that Harry Anslinger was one of the primary individuals responsible for creating the stigma surrounding cannabis. Hired as the first director of the recently created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, Anslinger launched a vigilant campaign against cannabis that would hold steady for the three decades he remained in office.

A very outspoken man, Anslinger used the recent development of the movie theater to spread messages that racialized the plant for white audiences. In one documented incident, Anslinger testified before Congress, explaining:

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

In another statement, Anslinger articulated: “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

In retrospect, Anslinger’s efforts with the Bureau of Narcotics were the reason “marijuana” became a word known by Americans all over the country. When making public appearances and crafting propaganda films such as Reefer Madness, Anslinger specifically used the term “marijuana” when campaigning against the plant, adding to the development of the herb’s new “foreign” identity.

Cannabis was no longer the plant substance found in medicines and consumed unanimously by American’s all over the country.

1937:

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the culmination of Anslinger’s work and the first step to all-out prohibition. The bill federally criminalized the cannabis plant in every U.S. state. In order to discourage the production of cannabis use, the Tax Act of 1937 placed a one dollar tax on anyone who sold or cultivated the cannabis plant.

On top of the tax itself, the bill mandated that all individuals comply with certain enforcement provisions. Violation of the provisions would result in imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Though the word “marijuana” is the most common name for cannabis in the United States today, its history is deeply steeped in race, politics, and a complicated cultural revolution. Some argue that using the word ignores a history of oppression against Mexican immigrants and African Americans, while others insist that the term has now lost its prejudiced bite. Regardless of whether or not you decide to use the word yourself, it’s impossible to deny the magnitude and racial implications of its introduction to the American lexicon.

CONTINUE READING…

TRUMP’S DHS CHIEF JUST FLIPPED! WHAT HE SAID ABOUT THE WAR ON DRUGS IS GAME-CHANGING!

 

Untitled

The Next News Network

Published on Apr 18, 2017

MORE INFO: http://CannaSense.com | Email Jordan [email protected] | Sub for more: http://nnn.is/the_new_media | Eliot Nelson for the Huffington Post reports, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said that marijuana “is not a factor in the drug war,” placing him at odds with a number of other Trump administration officials.
Take action MORE INFO: http://CannaSense.com
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WHO Takes First Steps To Reclassify Medical Cannabis Under International Law

marijuana

by Scott Gacek on January 01, 2017

 

It could still be a long wait, but patients in the United States may not be dependent on the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) recently met and initiated the first steps in a long process that could lead to the rescheduling of medical marijuana under international law, and has committed to hold a special session to discuss medical marijuana in the next eighteen months.

“In order for cannabis to be rescheduled, the United Nations General Assembly would vote on a recommendation made by the CND.”

Eighteen months may seem like a long time, but discussions regarding the potential rescheduling of cannabis have been stalled for years, and the process could result in fundamental changes in the way medical marijuana research and regulations are handled in the United States and around the world.

The ECDD is a very influential committee whose recommendations are made to the Secretary General of the United Nations, who can then bring the recommendations to a vote by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). In order for cannabis to be rescheduled, the United Nations General Assembly would vote on a recommendation made by the CND.

If approved by the UN General Assembly, those changes would then be reflected in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I and IV substance, meaning a substance with a high risk of abuse, produces ill effects, and has no potential therapeutic benefit.

Under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which was ratified in 1961 and is signed by 185 of the 193 countries that make up the United Nations, including the United States, member countries are responsible for passing and enforcing their own drug laws, but the Single Convention is regarded as the standard for international drug laws. Many lawmakers point to the Single Convention as the primary obstacle in the United States’ inability to reschedule cannabis.

According to an extract from the 38th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence that convened from November 14-18 in Geneva, the committee recognized an increase in the use of cannabis and its components for medical purposes, the emergence of new cannabis-related pharmaceutical preparations for therapeutic use, and that cannabis has never been subject to a formal pre-review or critical review by the ECDD.

Over the next eighteen months, the committee has requested pre-reviews for cannabis plant matter, extracts and tinctures, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and stereoisomers of THC.

This pre-review is a preliminary analysis used to determine if a more in-depth critical review will be undertaken by the ECDD, and will represent the first new scientific guidance on marijuana to the United Nations since 1935, when cannabis was first classified as a Schedule I/IV substance by the Health Committee of the League of Nations.

Rescheduling at the international level would have major ramifications for US policy on medical cannabis, as all too often politicians cite the Single Convention as the reason Congress cannot move towards rescheduling cannabis. So while this may seem like a long, drawn out process, it could ultimately remove that final roadblock, making it well worth the wait.

CONTINUE READING…

LINK TO UN PDF DOC…

RELATED:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-humphreys/can-the-united-nations-bl_b_3977683.html

https://massroots.com/blog/un-warns-us-and-canada-on-legal-marijuana

Whitehouse Press Release– I have a question on medical marijuana…

 

marijuana

February 23, 2017

 

A LINK TO THE ENTIRE PRESS BRIEFING HERE

I have a question on medical marijuana.  Our state voters passed a medical marijuana amendment in November.  Now we’re in conflict with federal law, as many other states are.  The Obama administration kind of chose not to strictly enforce those federal marijuana laws.  My question to you is:  With Jeff Sessions over at the Department of Justice as AG, what’s going to be the Trump administration’s position on marijuana legalization where it’s in a state-federal conflict like this?

MR. SPICER:  Thanks, Roby.  There’s two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.  

I think medical marijuana, I’ve said before that the President understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them.  And that’s one that Congress, through a rider in 2011 — looking for a little help — I think put in an appropriations bill saying the Department of Justice wouldn’t be funded to go after those folks.  

There is a big difference between that and recreational marijuana.  And I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people.  There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of the medical — when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.  

So I think there’s a big difference between medical marijuana, which states have a — the states where it’s allowed, in accordance with the appropriations rider, have set forth a process to administer and regulate that usage, versus recreational marijuana.  That’s a very, very different subject.

Shannon.

Q    What does that mean in terms of policy?  A follow-up, Sean.  What does that mean in terms of policy?

MR. SPICER:  Shannon.  Glenn, this isn’t a TV program.  We’re going to —

Q    What is the Justice Department going to do?

MR. SPICER:  Okay, you don’t get to just yell out questions.  We’re going to raise our hands like big boys and girls.

Q    Why don’t you answer the question, though?

MR. SPICER:  Because it’s not your job to just yell out questions.  

Shannon, please go.

Q    Okay.  Well, first, on the manufacturing summit, was the AFL-CIO invited?  And then, yeah, I did want to follow up on this medical marijuana question.  So is the federal government then going to take some sort of action around this recreational marijuana in some of these states?

MR. SPICER:  Well, I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice. I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it.  Because again, there’s a big difference between the medical use which Congress has, through an appropriations rider in 2014, made very clear what their intent was in terms of how the Department of Justice would handle that issue.  That’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice I think will be further looking into. 

I’m sorry, Shannon, what was the first part?

Q    Was the AFL-CIO invited to the manufacturing meeting today with the CFOs?  Because they are part of this manufacturing —

MR. SPICER:  Right.  I think this was just focused on people who actually — they were not, I don’t believe, part of this one.  As you know, that we’ve had union representation at other meetings.  I think this was specifically for people who are hiring people and the impediments that they’re having to create additional jobs, hire more people.  And obviously, while the President values their opinion — and that’s why they’ve been involved in some of the past — this was specifically a manufacturing — people who hire people, who manufacture, who grow the economy, who grow jobs.  And that is a vastly different situation.

SOURCE

the first-ever patent for a plant containing significant amounts of THC

Terpenes and Testing Magazine

You know that strain you love? The one that a breeder managed to hone perfectly over the years? We are at a point in the industry where that strain that you love could be locked up by big business. The theft of a clone or tissue, biopiracy, could destroy decades of hard work with no mention of where it came from.

Why? Big business is knocking on the door of the cannabis industry, bringing with them the specter of plant patents.

There have already been a few U.S. patents related to cannabis over the years. The one that caught the attention of everyone in the cannabis business came in the form of U.S. patent 9,095,554, a 145-page utility patent filed in August 2015 by the BioTech Institute in Westlake, California on the breeding, production, processing and use of specialty cannabis.

The document lists dizzying details of the chemical structures of both CBD and THC, their uses, planting and harvesting for cannabis, along with dozens of charts only a scientist could understand. It’s being hailed as the first-ever patent for a plant containing significant amounts of THC.

BioTech has filed the first patent on a broad range of cannabis, with various forms and concentrations of CBD and/or THC, and just about every form of cannabis including extracts and edibles.

It’s a shot across the bow in a multi-billion-dollar industry blissfully unaware—or unaccepting—that the cannabis business is moving into big agriculture territory. Big money attracts big players. Those big players want to own, protect and have recourse to take legal action against any other big company challenging the breeding, growing and selling of their product.

For cannabis business owners, it’s becoming clear that it’s time to circle the wagons and find out what needs to be done to protect the intellectual property represented by their plant and processes. All while carefully eyeing the moves of big agriculture.

It’s time to add patent lawyer fees and filing fees to the list of costs for running a cannabis business.

The hard reality is, for most breeders and growers, it’s already too late. If they’ve sold a strain a year or longer ago, it’s now in the public domain and therefore can’t be patented.

“Patents are not a threat,” says Dale Hunt, a patent attorney working in biotechnology. “In this young industry, patents are viewed that way. They are only a threat if they are in the hands of a big agricultural company. But they are also a shield. A patent can actually be a sword and a shield.”

If Monsanto gets into the cannabis business—an unconfirmed but common fear if federal legalization occurs—they will definitely have patents on the plant. “People need to realize that, ‘OK, if we can’t stop them from getting into it, we can’t stop them from patenting, do we figure out how to engage, how to defend ourselves using the same tools?’” Hunt expressed.

“We have found out that a lot of people are terrified about big agriculture when it comes to patents,” Mowgli Holmes, Co-Founder and CSO for Phylos Bioscience, added. “But even little breeders want to patent too. We thought that patents on cannabis were bad altogether, but once you start talking to breeders, you realize that they want and need protection.” Phylos is an agricultural genomics company based in Portland, Oregon focusing on cannabis studies.

Hunt explained that some in the industry just want it to be a kind of “patent-free” zone. “And that is just not an option.”

There are a couple of ways to patent a new strain. For example, one can be obtained on an individual strain with a simple plant patent, available through the USPTO. This offers a narrow form of protection against a direct copying of that strain. “Plant patents cost about $5,000 to file and might cost $5,000 in lawyer fees,” Holmes shared. “So they are affordable.”

The utility patent, like the one granted to BioTech, is a patent where an applicant persuaded the examiner that the certain combinations of biochemical and genetic properties were new, and provided various strains that have those properties.

“What is important to understand about that utility patent is that it is not limited to any particular strain,” Hunt explained. “It’s limited to only that combination of properties. And that patent is valid only if that combination of properties never really existed before. A big part of the challenge is: Who knows? Where is the prior art? There is a great and unusual vacuum of knowledge of what is really out there. It may well be that what is before the examiner is not new at all.”

That utility patent could, in effect, end the development of other, more diverse strains if they exhibit the same combination of properties as listed in that patent. “Our position now is that utility patents are being granted, and it’s pretty damn clear that those are not good for the industry,” Holmes said. “They are innovation killing, destructive patents. And if the industry wants to survive, they need to fight them.”

Sadly, there are only more patents coming, “I think they already granted the second one for the same group, and I think that they have several others in the pipeline,” Holmes recounted.

To fight cannabis plant patenting, the Open Cannabis Project was created recently to build a prior art database. The database lists the DNA sequence of thousands of strains that are already out in the public domain and, by doing that, making those particular strains unavailable to be patented by any one person or corporation.

Both Hunt and Holmes are working on that project now.

“That is important because it’s the only possible way to fight a patent on a specific plant,” Holmes said. “We need to get a lot of testing labs to donate their testing data, because that chemical data and what chemical compounds are in the plant is what that 2015 utility patent rested on. If we had done that a year earlier—if we provided that prior art data—I don’t think they could have gotten that patent.”

What could happen now? Hunt gives an example of a mom-and-pop breeder that develops a great strain. “As the industry gets bigger and more lucrative, how are they going to protect that strain from someone grabbing it, and propagating it as their strain?” he concluded. “The mindset that patents are bad is not one that will serve people well in this burgeoning industry.”

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The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017)

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS HAS RELEASED A NEW RESEARCH BOOK REGARDING THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF CANNABIS.  PLEASE USE LINK PROVIDED TO REVIEW.

 

The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research

 

Description

Significant changes have taken place in the policy landscape surrounding cannabis legalization, production, and use. During the past 20 years, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis and/or cannabidiol (a component of cannabis) for medical conditions or retail sales at the state level and 4 states have legalized both the medical and recreational use of cannabis. These landmark changes in policy have impacted cannabis use patterns and perceived levels of risk.

However, despite this changing landscape, evidence regarding the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use remains elusive. While a myriad of studies have examined cannabis use in all its various forms, often these research conclusions are not appropriately synthesized, translated for, or communicated to policy makers, health care providers, state health officials, or other stakeholders who have been charged with influencing and enacting policies, procedures, and laws related to cannabis use. Unlike other controlled substances such as alcohol or tobacco, no accepted standards for safe use or appropriate dose are available to help guide individuals as they make choices regarding the issues of if, when, where, and how to use cannabis safely and, in regard to therapeutic uses, effectively.

Shifting public sentiment, conflicting and impeded scientific research, and legislative battles have fueled the debate about what, if any, harms or benefits can be attributed to the use of cannabis or its derivatives, and this lack of aggregated knowledge has broad public health implications. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids provides a comprehensive review of scientific evidence related to the health effects and potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis. This report provides a research agenda—outlining gaps in current knowledge and opportunities for providing additional insight into these issues—that summarizes and prioritizes pressing research needs.

Topics

 

CONCLUSIONS FOR: THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS
There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective:
• For the treatment for chronic pain in adults (cannabis) (4-1)
• Antiemetics in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (oral cannabinoids) (4-3)
• For improving patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms (oral cannabinoids) (4-7a)
There is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for:
• Improving short-term sleep outcomes in individuals with sleep disturbance associated with obstructive sleep apnea
syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis (cannabinoids, primarily nabiximols) (4-19)
There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for:
• Increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS (cannabis and oral cannabinoids) (4-4a)
• Improving clinician-measured multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms (oral cannabinoids) (4-7a)
• Improving symptoms of Tourette syndrome (THC capsules) (4-8)
• Improving anxiety symptoms, as assessed by a public speaking test, in individuals with social anxiety disorders (cannabidiol)
(4-17)
• Improving symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (nabilone; one single, small fair-quality trial) (4-20)
There is limited evidence of a statistical association between cannabinoids and:
• Better outcomes (i.e., mortality, disability) after a traumatic brain injury or intracranial hemorrhage (4-15)
There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are ineffective for:
• Improving symptoms associated with dementia (cannabinoids) (4-13)
• Improving intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma (cannabinoids) (4-14)
• Reducing depressive symptoms in individuals with chronic pain or multiple sclerosis (nabiximols, dronabinol, and nabilone)
(4-18)

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