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Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

French Senators call for urgent Cannabis Legalization, not just Decriminalization

The senators rejected the notion of decriminalization, saying it is a demagogue option, which would perpetuate the existing ban. (Benzinga)

A letter published in the Le Monde explores several options for cannabis legalization in France. Through the launching of a consultation process, the European country seeks to culminate in proposing a new law to legalize recreational cannabis.

Among the 31 senators that co-signed the letter calling for the launch of the consultation process were Socialist, Ecologist and Republican groups, such as socialists Patrick Kanner, and David Assouline, senators from the North and from Paris respectively.

Decriminalization Is Not An Option

The senators rejected the notion of decriminalization, saying it is a demagogue option, which would perpetuate the existing ban. Days ago, Le Monde, which has called the current situation in France ‘unsustainable’, published the call to the senators, saying it is time to face reality head-on.

“Almost 18 million of our fellow citizens have used cannabis recreationally, according to a recent report by the National Assembly,” stated the senators’ report. “Although it is banned, 1.5 million consume it regularly.”

Indeed, Senators argue that legalization is a social issue that should be adopted by public authorities. According to them, the Government must respond to existing legitimate concerns.

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19 trucks illegally selling Cannabis in legal New York Seized by Police

Retail licences for adult-use weed have not yet been issued.

New York City police recently took to the streets to clamp down on illegal weed trucks that are popping up everywhere by seizing 19 of the pot shops on wheels.

“Up in smoke,” a tweet this week from Jeffrey Maddrey, chief of patrol for the New York City Police Department, notes of the bust.

“19 illegal vehicles and cannabis seized off the streets of NYC. While others follow the rules, these trucks and their vendors don’t have permits so we took action!” Maddrey continued.

“If you are looking to buy illegal Cannabis from the Weed World Bus located on 5th Avenue & 40th street it is no longer open for business. We do not anticipate it opening for business anytime soon!” Maddrey noted in a tweet this week.

One commenter asked, “Did you get ‘Uncle Budd’ on 116 and FDB in Harlem? There every day.”

This past June, deputies with the city’s sheriff’s office seized about a dozen Weed World Candies vehicles, reportedly for parking debts.

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Doctors open Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Mississippi

BROOKHAVEN - Two doctors have made an efforts to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Brookhaven, called Magnolia Greens.

Dennis Sanders and his wife are co-owners of Magnolia Greens. Sanders is a doctor, and his wife is a registered nurse. The two wanted to open the dispensary to ensure that patients can receive the proper care that they need for better health.

In February 2022, Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state for people with debilitating conditions.

In November 2020, Mississippi voters approved a medical marijuana initiative. The state Supreme Court overturned it six months later by ruling it was not properly on the ballot because the initiative process was outdated.

Online registration for all types of medical marijuana licensing opened on June 1, and the Mississippi Department of Revenue started licensing medical cannabis dispensaries in July.

Magnolia Greens is expected to open in Brookhaven in October 2022. Sanders said they’re working to gather the appropriate products to ensure patients get the services they need.

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Kent planners approve Medical Marijuana Dispensary

A medical marijuana dispensary was approved in Kent after the city's Planning Commission heard from the business' new owners, who said they plan to rename the dispensary "Bliss Ohio."

Half a dozen residents, all of whom said they were opposed to the proposal, were not allowed to speak. Commission Chairwoman Amanda Edwards said the residents all had a chance to speak when the commission considered the plan in January.

"This is a joke," one of them was heard saying as she left the meeting.

In January, property owner James Dulick presented his request for site plan approval and a conditional zoning certificate. At the time, the business name was presented as "Slightly Toasted." Right now, the business operates as Lightly Toasted, a vape shop operated by Dulick's son and his friends. The vape shop will be relocated when the dispensary opens, he has said.

Pamela and Duane Siekman of Next Level Operators said they hold the permit for the dispensary, which will be named "Bliss Ohio" when it opens. Many of the people with the Siekmans were contractors of theirs, including one who said there will be no trash enclosure, because waste must be stored indoors until it is collected because of state regulations.

In January, residents expressed concern about the site's proximity to Kent State University, St. Patrick Catholic School and centers for addiction treatment. However, Tim Sahr, development engineer, said the location is not within 500 feet of a school, church, library, playground or park and therefore meets state licensing criteria.

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Coldwater Ordinance issues delay decision on retail sales at Cannabis Grow Facility

On Monday, Craft Leaf LLC received a special-use permit to operate a marijuana processing facility at its grow operation at 211 W. Garfield Road. 

But Coldwater Planning Commission could not issue an integrated retail sale permit in the D-1 industrial area. 

Coldwater City Council adopted a revised zoning ordinance in December 2021. The portion allowing the retail sales at marijuana grow and processing plants were omitted from the revision. 

"This location was awarded Special Land Use permission to operate a Marihuana Grow Class C on October 4, 2021," said planning board members Dean Walrack. "The owners are now interested in vertically integrating the processing and sales into this site."

The planning commission approved a unified vertical operation on Butters Avenue. Some members did not remember that it was allowed under the original recreational ordinance passed by the planning commission and city council.  

Salaw Allaw of Detroit is the applicant. Yasin "Jesse" Hewain, representing the owner, told the planning board falling price of marijuana prompted the requests.

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Despite pleas from business, Springfield Council says no to Cannabis Grower Ordinance change

SPRINGFIELD - Despite please from cannabis growers, Springfield City Council voted down a proposal to let grow facilities open closer to homes and schools. 

Cannabis growers said Springfield zoning ordinances are locking them out of major portions of the city.

"Its virtually impossible or us to get in and make a difference in the community under these current zoning laws," Edward Maurice Williams, of Lincoln Labs, told the council Tuesday night.

"We've got vacant buildings in the industrial park, we've got vacant land in the industrial park. But that strip of land, 211 feet away, across a divided highway- creates a red line," Jeff Fulgenzi, a cannabis businessman, added.

This is why Alderman Williams is proposing a change to city law, to allow grow operators within 200 feet of homes and 500 feet of schools and daycares.

"I was trying to use industrial parks, to use some abandoned buildings- that a lot of my constituents say 'what are you going to do with those raggedy buildings?' to do some of that," Alderman Williams explained.

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Colombian President discusses releasing Cannabis prisoners and Legally Exporting the Drug

Petro compared the country’s possible cannabis market with that of Canada.

Gustavo Petro, the newly elected president of Colombia, is talking about potentially legalizing cannabis during his first weeks in office.

In a recent summit with the country’s mayors, Petro talked about the perks of legalizing cannabis and possibly releasing those who have been incarcerated in relation to the drug.

“Let’s see if by exporting cannabis we make a few dollars because in part of the world, the drug is legal,” said Petro in a translation per Noticias RCN. “Why can’t the farmers from Cauca plant cannabis?” he asked, referring to a region in Colombia where farming is a big part of the business.

Petro compared the country’s possible cannabis market with that of Canada. He also called out the U.S., using it as an example where cannabis is legal in almost half of the country.

Regarding those who’ve been incarcerated due to cannabis-related offences, Petro said: “If we’re going to legalize cannabis, are we going to allow all of those people who’ve been imprisoned to remain in jail? Or is it time to release those people?”

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French Senators Petition Macron’s Government For Urgent Cannabis Reform

OVER 30 senators from the Socialist, Ecologist and Republican group have called for the launch of a consultation process to introduce new laws to legalize cannabis in France. 

The co-signed letter from 31 senators, published in the Le Monde newspaper explores several options for the legalization of cannabis – and rejects the notion of decriminalization, saying it is a demagogue option, which will merely ‘perpetuate the existing ban’.

On August 10, Le Monde published the rallying call with the senators, saying it is time to face ‘reality head-on’. They went on to say the current situation is ‘unsustainable’. 

The letter calls for the launch of a wide-ranging consultation that will culminate in proposing a new law to legalize cannabis for adult consumption in France. 

Decriminalization ‘A Cynical And Populist’ Option

Among the signatories are socialists Patrick Kanner, and David Assouline, senators from the North and from Paris, respectively.

The letter says: “Almost 18 million of our fellow citizens have used cannabis recreationally, according to a recent report by the National Assembly. Although it is banned, 1.5 million consume it regularly.”

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Poll shows near even split among Americans asked if Cannabis is good or bad for Society

A slight majority of those surveyed say marijuana has a positive effect on most users.

The number of surveyed Americans who believe cannabis has had a negative effect on society just barely edges out those who think the impact has been positive, according to a new poll released this week by Gallup.

Specifically, 50 per cent of the 1,013 U.S. adults interviewed over a three-week period this past July responded that weed’s effect on society is negative compared to 49 per cent who considered it positive. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus four percentage points, Gallup News Service reports.

The positive percentage increases somewhat when asked about the drug’s effect on people who use it. In that case, Gallup notes 53 per cent of adults polled said the impact was positive compared to 45 per cent who said it was negative.

Predictably, the gap between positive and negative views — related to both the impact on society in general and on individual users specifically — widen depending on whether or not the respondent in question has ever consumed weed.

Those who partake, or have ever done so, said they believe marijuana’s effect on society (70 per cent) and on individuals (66 per cent) has been positive. Compare that to never-users, 72 per cent of whom responded that cannabis has had a negative effect on society and 62 per cent who felt the same about the effect on users.

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Driving while high: NJ Cannabis Industry holds Keys to Message

A survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 95% of respondents feel there is some sort of danger in driving a car while over the legal alcohol limit, but fewer than 7 in 10 felt the same way about consuming cannabis before getting behind the wheel.

That's something New Jersey needs to consider as it continues to shape its recreational marijuana industry, according to Pam Fischer, senior director of external engagement for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

GHSA's message is not to not consume marijuana at all, but just to recognize that once a person has pot in their system, while the feeling may not hit them in the same way as alcohol, they are still legally impaired.

"You can inhale it, you can smoke it, you can ingest it, you can drink it, and each one of these affects people in different ways. So we need folks to understand that there is an impairing factor that affects safe driving," Fischer said. "We have to change that social norm, to get folks to understand that it isn't safe, it isn't safe for themselves, their passengers, and others on the road."

Trauma center data cited by Fischer indicates that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the presence of THC has been detected in about a third of all drivers involved in fatal crashes nationwide.

Add to that the anecdotal evidence of earlier states to legalize marijuana, such as Colorado, that have seen collision and fatality stats tick up, and Fischer sees a problem the Garden State needs to address.

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Almost 17,000 illegal Cannabis Plants found in 87 Greenhouses in Oregon

Grow conservatively estimated to have used enough water to fill 50 average-sized swimming pools

Charges are reportedly pending for suspects after a multi-force team busted an illegal cannabis grow-op in Oregon that covered almost six acres of land.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) reports that detectives with the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team executed a search warrant on Aug. 9 at the unlicensed grow near Medford, Ore.

JCSO deputies, detectives with Oregon State Police’s Rogue Area Drug Enforcement and members of Homeland Security Investigations assisted with the warrant service.

On the property, the authorities discovered approximately 16,827 illegal cannabis plants inside 87 hoop-style greenhouses.

Though one subject found on site was detained and interviewed, that person was later released. “Detectives identified the primary suspects and charges are pending from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office,” the JCSO reports.

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Underage and shopping for cannabis? Good luck scoring in this U.S. State

Colorado regulators shared that licensed retailers have 98 per cent compliance for checking IDs.

Now that cannabis is legal in more U.S. states, some people are concerned about teens and access. And while access surrounding the drug might push some young people to try it or to fear it less, legal retailers, at least those in Colorado, are doing everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

This past week, Colorado regulators shared that there’s a 98 per cent compliance with requiring people to show identifications before entering cannabis stores. The report indicates that 190 compliance checks have been done so far in 2022, with only four instances of retailers failing to ask for IDs.

Colorado state law makes it clear that non-compliance can lead to a lot of trouble for these businesses, including putting their cannabis licences at risk and facing up to a US$100,000 fine.

“Unauthorized sale of regulated marijuana to an individual under the age of 21 is considered a licence violation affecting public safety,” noted the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED).

“Businesses must remain vigilant in establishing internal measures to prevent underage access, and as the MED continues to monitor licensee compliance, it will evaluate business practices licensees have adopted to prevent unauthorized/underage sales,” the division added.

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How Would The Cannabis Administration And Opportunity Act Work?

Is the CAOA a perfect model for legalization? Probably not, as I am not sure there is a way to legalize cannabis that will please everyone. However, it is comprehensive and would completely change the cannabis industry.

A few weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA).

The nearly 300 page bill is comprehensive and is unlikely to pass before the midterm election (if at all, thanks to the filibuster). However, it does provide a real glimpse as to what we can potentially expect when federal cannabis legalization actually happens. Today, I will cover a few interesting portions of the CAOA.

Cannabis Legalization

The CAOA would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Individuals over 21 could legally use marijuana in states that have legalized. States could continue to prohibit marijuana within their borders but could not prohibit the interstate shipment of marijuana. The unauthorized growing, manufacturing, shipping, transporting, receiving, possessing, selling, distributing, or purchasing of ten pounds or more of marijuana would remain illegal.

The CAOA would also amend the 2018 Farm Bill by defining hemp as cannabis with less than 0.7% THC on a dry weight basis. That would more than double the current THC threshold of 0.3% for hemp.

If the CAOA passes, it would task several federal agencies would take part in regulating marijuana at a federal level. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) would each be involved. The FDA would regulate the manufacture, distribution, and labeling of “cannabis products,” as well as register cannabis product manufacturers.

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Public tip leads U.K. police to illegal cannabis grow with 1,000-plus plants

Local police say a U.K. neighborhood has been safer after a tip from the public allowed police to home in on an illegal cannabis grow housing 1,021 plants.

Officers with the Merseyside Police made the discovery at a property in West Derby after receiving a report at 12:20 p.m. on Aug. 8, notes a police statement. The caller noted that plants were being grown on land near the entrance to a Tesco car park.

Upon arrival, officers recovered approximately 1,021 plants. Police are asking for people to report any information about the illegal grow or those responsible.

“Criminals involved in the growing of cannabis are often involved in serious organized crime and the associated violence and criminality that this brings,” says Matt Smith, head of Merseyside Police’s Cannabis Dismantling Team. “By removing these plants we’re making our streets safer,” Smith adds in the release.

Concerned citizens can help police if they notice any suspicious behavior. For illegal marijuana grow-ops, this includes, among other things, strange smells and sounds, frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times, gardening equipment such as pots, fertilizer, fans and industrial lighting being taken into a property, windows being sealed and covered or the curtains being permanently closed, heat from an adjoining property and birds gathering on a roof in cold weather.

U.K. police have busted several large grows in recent months. In early July, three men were arrested after Merseyside Police investigators seized more than 2,000 cannabis plants from an illegal grow-op spread across 13 rooms of a warehouse.

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Legal Cannabis Use needs Workplace Protections, Some States Say

California legislators are primed to follow a few pioneering states when they decide whether to advance a bill granting employees statutory protections to use cannabis.

If the proposal becomes law, California will become the seventh state to protect adults who legally use cannabis from employer sanctions. An additional 15 states have narrower laws that protect medical marijuana patients from adverse treatment from employers for their legal use of cannabis, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Individuals can legally use cannabis in more than half of states but often can be fired if traces of cannabis are detected in their bodies, even though that detection doesn’t prove current intoxication or impairment.

The push for new state laws comes in part from a tight labor market and efforts to increase equity in the workplace, as well as a diminished stigma for pot use, lawyers said.

“As long as the federal prohibition remains, you’re going to see states, in my opinion, continue to enact legislation to protect employees and make sure they are not discriminated against because they’re using cannabis,” said Jonathan Robbins, a lawyer who leads Akerman LLP’s cannabis practice. “It will continue. It has to,” he said.

California offers one example of a legal gray areas around cannabis use. Voters through ballot initiatives legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes in 1996 and for recreational purposes in 2016, but legislators haven’t yet extended protections for employees who legally use cannabis. Instead, employers can still fire or refuse to hire individuals who use cannabis away from the workplace or off the job.

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Hermosa Beach Council votes to allow Cannabis Home Delivery

A city sponsored survey released in March, 2022 found Hermosa Beach residents favor retail cannabis sales in the city by a 10 percent margin. Source: FM3 Research

Cannabis home delivery in Hermosa Beach will become legal under an ordinance approved by the city council on a four to one vote at its Tuesday, August 9 meeting.

Council members who favored lifting the delivery ban, which was imposed in 2017, argued the ordinance would decriminalize a service most residents favor, and undermine support for the cannabis initiative on the November 8 ballot. The cannabis initiative would require the city to allow up to two cannabis retailers in the city, and give exclusive home delivery rights to the cannabis retailers selected by the city.

The council voted last month to oppose the cannabis initiative, and will write the ballot opposition argument to the initiative

Mayor Mike Detoy cast the dissenting vote on the delivery ordinance. 

“I’m not opposed to home delivery. But I’m opposed to the procedure and timing,” Detoy said.

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Ukraine’s battle for Medical Cannabis – the Campaigners on the Frontline

Advocates in Ukraine have called on the global cannabis community for support.

While the war against Russia rages on, medical cannabis advocates in Ukraine say access is vital as the country faces an impending mental health crisis. 

“The smell of cannabis in Europe always gave me a sense of freedom,” says Nazariy Sovsun, a resident in the city of Kyiv.

“This is something we want for Ukraine too.”

Nazariy has worked in drug policy since 2011. He and Maksym Kharkavyi, are members of Freedom March, a longstanding movement, which has advocated for the legalisation of cannabis in Ukraine since 2005.

“For generations we have been fighting for adoption and implementation of the drug policy strategy in Ukraine, organising rallies, campaigns and advocating for cannabis patients in the courts,” Nazariy explains.

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More weed wars over Recreational Cannabis

While Detroit's new recreational cannabis law survived one legal attack this week, others are still on deck.

Catch up quick: 

City Council passed the recreational marijuana law in April to provide a limited number of recreational licenses while setting up a "social equity" framework that helps Detroiters enter the market.

Driving the news:

The Detroit Election Commission rejected a ballot initiative Monday designed to overturn the law because it lacked enough valid petition signatures, city clerk Janice Winfrey, who sits on the commission, tells Axios.

But, but, but: 

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Wanted man speeding through Construction Zone found with 4 kilograms of Cannabis

Driver in Texas charged after travelling 130 km/h (81mi/h) in a 97 km/h zone (60mi/h).

A wanted man in Texas must have decided to throw caution to the wind when he opted to speed through a highway construction zone while carrying cannabis. Predictably, Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office (TGCSO) corporal conducting traffic control at a work zone on Highway 87 stopped the driver on Aug. 4 after he was allegedly clocked at 130 kilometres/hour in the 97 km/h work zone.

There were workers present when the driver made his way through the zone, notes an incident report from the TGCSO.

Upon stopping the speedster, it was determined the driver was wanted in Ector County, Tex. The man was arrested and over the course of the ensuing investigation, the corporal located and seized just over four kilograms of cannabis and $1,806 in cash. Recreational cannabis is illegal in Texas, per the Texas State Law Library. “In addition to criminal penalties, illegal use of cannabis may affect other aspects of a person’s life. For example, employment or release on probation or parole may depend upon abstaining from controlled substances,” the information notes.

Possessing 113 grams to 2.3 kilograms of cannabis in the state is a felony charge punishable by 180 days to two years of incarceration as well as a $12,900 fine upon conviction, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). The next highest amount for weed-related possession, namely 2.3 kilograms to 22.7 kilograms, carries a maximum penalty of two to 10 years in prison and a $12,900 fine, NORML reports.

Following the recent incident, the driver was charged with the latter offence and failing to appear on manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance of greater than 400 grams, TGCSO reports. The stop in Texas clearly shows how speeding can get a person noticed, but the driver’s pace was far from a record. Earlier this summer, a driver in Saskatchewan who tested positive for THC received a $1,011 fine and a 60-day licence suspension for travelling 169 km/h in a 100 km/h zone.

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SE City Council to hear Edible Cannabis Law Update

SLEEPY EYE — The Sleepy Eye City Council will hear an update Tuesday on the newly adopted edible cannabis law.

 
Sleepy Eye City Manager Bob Elston said the update is informational only. “The only thing I intend to do is look at it. Maybe by September, we can discuss some of it,” said Elston. “The law is really long and extensive. I emailed the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) information on it to the City Council. The city can’t completely ban the sale of (cannabis) edibles. Several cities have put a moratorium on it. I’m not saying we have to do that. I’m saying just take a look at the law and see how we deal with it.”

The new law effective July 1, enacted at the end of the 2022 legislative session, allows certain edible and beverage products infused with THC to be sold.

Under current law, the products can be manufactured in Minnesota but also imported from other sates. Growing hemp in Minnesota is governed by the state Department of Agriculture, although the MDA Hemp Program does not regulate cannabis extracts, development and manufacturing of cannabis extracts, or the retail and marketing of cannabinoid products.

Cities could consider zoning implications for manufacturing and production of cannabinoid products, according to the LMC.

The new law limits the sale of CBD and THC products to persons over age 21. The council meeting starts at 8 p.m. in the council chambers. It is broadcast on the local cable access channel.

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