In 2020, Nevada dispensaries sold nearly $700 million dollars worth of cannabis and derivative products. Before AB400 was signed into law last week, many who used those products also drove a motor vehicle within 48 hours of use and likely exceeded the per se blood level limit for Tetracanabidiol (THC), the psychoactive component in cannabis, when they did it.

The legal standard for judging driver impairment for alcohol is consistent and accurate, an enduring legal measuring stick used in every U.S. state. With a higher blood alcohol content comes an increased level of impairment, a near linear relationship, but intoxication is not as predictable based on a blood level limit for THC.

The Problem

People react differently to cannabis use. Numerous studies show that an infrequent user may experience pronounced effects when consuming small amounts of THC, but a daily medical cannabis user, for instance, may exhibit no reduction in psychomotor ability after use, yet they would likely be convicted of DUI if their blood were tested while driving. As of August 2020, there were 13,269 medical cannabis patients in Nevada. Assemblyman Steve Yeager, primary sponsor of AB400, presented the legislation to the Assembly Committee on Judiciary on March 29 of this year.

“What this means in practice is that you have little or no ability to defend yourself against DUI charges, if your blood test comes back with results above those numbers, your only real defense is that you were not the one driving or that the blood tested was not, in fact, your blood,” Yeager said. “You are not able to make any argument that you were not impaired due to a built up tolerance or history of heavy usage, even if for medical purposes. Simply stated, if you are above those levels, you are going to be guilty of a DUI.”

A Nevada motorist can get a DUI for prescription drugs, but there are no per se blood level limits for these substances at which a person is presumed to be intoxicated. A prosecutor must prove impairment without the use of a per se limit to establish guilt. Now that AB400 is law, prosecutors need to do the same thing for cannabis intoxication prosecutions.

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The California Legislature on Monday approved a $100-million plan to bolster California’s legal marijuana industry, which continues to struggle to compete with the large illicit pot market nearly five years after voters approved sales for recreational use.

Los Angeles will be the biggest beneficiary of the money, which was proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be provided as grants to cities and counties to help cannabis businesses transition from provisional to regular licenses.

“California voters approved Proposition 64 five years ago and entrusted the Legislature with creating a legal, well-regulated cannabis market,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “We have yet to reach that goal.”

Many cannabis growers, retailers and manufacturers have struggled to make the transition from a provisional, temporary license to a permanent one renewed on an annual basis — a process that requires a costly, complicated and time-consuming review of the negative environmental effects involved in a business and a plan for reducing those harms.

 

As a result, about 82% of the state’s cannabis licensees still held provisional licenses as of April, according to the governor’s office.

Las colinas de la famosa región vinícola del condado de Santa Bárbara se han convertido en la improbable capital del mercado legal de marihuana de California. Ahora, los viñedos y las haciendas rurales conviven con las extensas hileras blancas de invernaderos. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

If you’ve recently stopped by the CBD store down the street or visited one of the many websites selling CBD online, you may have seen something odd – right alongside the CBD oils and tinctures, CBD gummies, and vape juice.

Delta-8-THC.

That leads to a lot of questions.

First of all, what’s THC doing in a CBD store? Isn’t that only supposed to be sold in a marijuana dispensary?Second, what is Delta-8-THC? Is it just a cleverly named CBD brand? Is it synthetic weed? What’s with the “Delta-8?”And most importantly: is this really legal?

You have questions. We have answers.

Delta-8-THC: The Brief FAQ

Let’s start with the simple answers.

CBD Plant for sourcing Delta-8-THC

North Carolina state Senator Jeff Jackson is all about going green, and in a recent video posted to Twitter, clarifies it's about making marijuana legal.

Jackson, a Democrat who currently represents North Carolina's 37th District, says the Tar Heel State needs to get up to speed with the other 17 states that have made similar moves. He specifically cites neighboring state Virginia, which has opted to regulate weed like alcohol and tobacco. That approach, he says, is good for farmers, tax revenue, and the criminal justice system in the states that have chosen to greenlight legal marijuana.

"You haven't seen an increase in crime, you haven't seen an increase in the use of harder drugs," he said. "What you've seen is an increase in tax revenue and a decrease in low-level arrests."

Jackson, who served as a prosecutor in Gaston County before joining the state senate and serves as a captain in the Army Reserve's JAG Corps, says most of the arrests made revolving around marijuana dealt with possession of small amounts of it, usually less than half of an ounce.  Most charges were dismissed, but he argues it makes more sense to make access to weed a regulated space. 

For Jackson, regulating weed means striking it at the federal level; marijuana is currently a Schedule I controlled substance, and taking it off the schedule would allow states to decriminalize and legalize marijuana. He also called for the expungement of records for people who had prior weed-related convictions.

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Connecticut lawmakers are expected to take a vote on marijuana legalization this week after years of debate, and the 297-page measure they will consider is a sweeping package that establishes the framework for the new marijuana market, creates an option to erase past criminal convictions and seeks to allow those most harmed from cannabis prohibition to profit from the new industry.

The legislation, negotiated between Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration and top Democratic lawmakers, could receive a vote as soon as Monday in the state Senate. Retail sales are expected to begin around May 2022, but the bill does not include a start date. Here’s nine key things to know about the legislation:

Marijuana possession would become legal July 1

One of the first provisions of the bill to take effect would be the actual legalization of cannabis on July 1 for adults 21 and up. Individuals will be allowed to have no more than 1.5 ounces of marijuana on their person and as much as 5 ounces in their home or locked in their car’s trunk or glove box. Those ages 18-20 in possession of less than 5 ounces of marijuana would face a small fine for their first offense and those younger than 18 would receive a written warning and a referral to youth services.

Past criminal convictions for marijuana would be erased

The legislation allows individuals with past convictions for marijuana offenses to have those convictions erased. According to the legislation, anyone convicted of possessing four ounces or less of cannabis from between Jan. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2015, would automatically have their record wiped clean. Those convicted before Jan. 1, 2000, or from Oct. 15, 2015 through June 30, 2021, could petition a court to have their record erased. The automatic erasures would take effect Jan. 1, 2023, and petitions to have records erased could be filed beginning July 1, 2022.

 
 
 
 

Home grow is OK beginning in 2023

Any individual 21 and older can grow up to six cannabis plants in their home beginning on July 1, 2023. The bill limits the number of plants that can be grown in a single household to 12.

Police can’t stop and search a person or vehicle for cannabis odor

With possession of marijuana legalized, police could no longer use the smell of cannabis or burnt cannabis as the basis to justify a search or motor vehicle stop. But the bill does allow police to test a driver for marijuana impairment if they smell cannabis. Another provision of the bill calls for police officers to receive additional training in drug recognition techniques.

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In brief

On 17 May 2021, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) issued several notifications to prescribe the criteria and requirements in relation to the use of cannabis and hemp in cosmetics, including the permitted parts of the cannabis and hemp plant and extracts, the permitted level of THC and the permitted CBD, and applicable labelling and warning requirements. These notifications became effective on 18 May 2021.

Recommended actions

In essence, cosmetics containing cannabis or hemp parts as an ingredient must comply with the following key requirements:

In general, parts of cannabis and hemp that are no longer considered as narcotics can be used, provided that they must be dry parts and used for the purpose of cosmetics.The notifications specify the types of cosmetics that these cannabis and hemp parts can be used to manufacture, as well as the level of permitted THC. For cosmetics containing CBD extracts from cannabis or hemp as an ingredient, the use of synthetic cannabidiol is not allowed.Importation of cannabis and hemp parts as raw materials or cosmetics containing cannabis and hemp parts for the purpose of cosmetics is not allowed.Manufacturers (including contract manufacturers) of the above cosmetics must provide cosmetics labels and warnings, including those relating to potential health risks and the substances used in the cosmetics as specified in relevant notifications, as well as the level of CBD by weight, as applicable.

For more information, please contact our team at Baker McKenzie.

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In this article, Rick Brar, CEO of Brains Bioceutical, explores the emerging UK CBD industry.

The last two years have seen the UK CBD market grow exponentially. Sales of CBD are not just being driven by trendy millennials looking for the next big thing, they are also cutting across a range of demographics and therapeutic applications from chronic painanxiety, sport recovery, and general wellness.

Following such a sustained period of growth, the rise of CBD is clearly not a passing fad. In fact, it remains one of the few industries that has managed to be resilient during the pandemic and continues to see strong demand.

With astronomical growth figures continuing to be reported, the potential of the CBD industry has prompted many to explore its viability as a business. With the increased focus on wellness and health that has stemmed from the pandemic and the growing awareness and evidence of CBD benefits, new businesses who want to make a difference are now entering the CBD market.

Setting up a CBD business is not as simple as just registering a website and selling products. Think long and hard about your motives for getting involved in the CBD and cannabis business and ask yourself a set of questions before you begin to craft a business plan: is this something you are passionate about? Will you buy your CBD wholesale, or are you looking to harvest and produce your own product? What kind of product interests you?

Getting from idea to product launch and beyond into profitability, is a challenge for any startup – however, for those wanting to create a thriving UK CBD business, there are several additional challenges due to the nature and origin of CBD itself. Destigmatising CBD, demonstrating compliance, and obtaining the necessary licenses and authorisations while maintaining a strong brand presence in what many people still see as a confused market requires agility, innovation, and perseverance.

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In 2021, new federal legislation affects all sellers with vape-related products that ship directly to the consumer. Initially, lawmakers created the law to keep nicotine products from minors. But they wrote the legislation so broadly that other industries with vape products, including cannabis and CBD, have been negatively impacted.

What is the PACT Act? 

An acronym for "Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking," the PACT Act has roots as far back as 1949. Originally called the Jenkins Act, the federal law states that any person who sells and ships cigarettes across state borders must report the sale to the buyer's state tobacco tax administrator.

Fast forward to 2009 when lawmakers amended the act to match new technology, broadening the language to include online sales. Digital sellers were now required to register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and the state they operated in and sold to. The 2009 amendment also prohibited the mail delivery of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco within the US. 

The main intention for these amendments was two-fold: 

It prevented minors from buying. The ultimate goal was to limit the pathways that tobacco and related products can get to minors. There was a greater emphasis on online retail because it was harder to track the age of consumers.  By linking taxes and registration with state authorities, the regulators had more control. State and federal officials could more easily audit companies and therefore track the age of consumers more closely. 

New legislation in 2021

In December 2020, as part of a larger stimulus bill, the PACT Act was again amended. The new legislation went into effect on April 26, 2021, and the industry can already feel its effects. 

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In the run-up to last Sunday’s elections, the Senate backed away from its commitment on cannabis reform, apparently preferring to shift any political blowback to the Supreme Court.

Two months ago we postedto celebrate the passage by Mexico’s Lower Chamber of the Cannabis Law bill sent to it by the Mexican Senate last November. In that post, I wrote, “The Law will now return to the Mexican Senate, where it is expected to be approved pretty much as written, at which point, it will go to the Executive Power for publication.”

Oops.

Just over a month ago the Senate ended its session not only without having approved the Law, but also having ignored the Supreme Court’s directive (dating from 2018) to do so. As a reminder, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the federal government’s prohibition on recreational marijuana use was unconstitutional and ordered Congress to pass a reform legalizing recreational use within 90 days. Since then, the Court has set multiple deadlines for Congressional action, with April 30, 2021 set to be the final one.


Photo by John Coletti/Getty Images

Mexico's Cannabis Legalization Bill Will Boost Business, But There Are Concerns

These days Americans are more divided than ever: republican vs democrat, conservative vs liberal, different views on healthcare and pandemic response, and numerous other economic and social issues prevail – there is one thing that nearly everyone seems to agree on though, cannabis legalization.

It’s a commonly held assumption that democrats favor cannabis (to an extent) and conservative republicans don’t, and traditionally that’s been true. But ballot initiates in numerous different red states show that republicans and independent conservatives are coming around on legalization issues. It’s one of the few topics that seems to garner support across the board, regardless of which side of the political line you’re looking at.

“The prevailing wisdom has been that a conservative administration would be less receptive, but I think cannabis legalization is now inevitable on its own kinetic energy,” said Sturges Karban, chief executive officer of cannabis logistics company ManifestSeven. “While federal legalization was a political ‘third rail’ as recently as 2016, it now looks as though 2021 will be a turning point for the industry.”

The world of cannabis is always evolving, especially when it comes to regulations. To learn more about cannabis legislation, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, where you will get all the latest news as well as access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products.

 

“People are just much less afraid of marijuana”

This year, we have a lot of action in unexpected states. With cannabis use becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, especially following all the changes brought on by COVID-19, it seems that new legislation at the federal level is inevitable. There are quite a few republican states that already have very lax rules regarding cannabis, and some numerous swing states that have legalized it completely.

Currently, 16 states and Washington D.C. have fully legalized adult-use cannabis, 37 states have implemented some type of medical cannabis program, and 46 states have “decriminalized” cannabis to some extent. A survey of 500 New Jersey voters, conducted by legal firm Branch Eichler LLC, found that a higher-than-expected number of republicans support adult-use cannabis – 75% of democrats and 52% of republicans.

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Delta-8 THC has been the center of controversy in the United States. While the US government did officially illegalize it, and while many states are following suit independently, Texas is not. In fact, Texas is the first state to officially say ‘no’ to delta-8 THC illegalization.

We’ve known that delta-8 is pretty awesome for a while now. After all, it’s another form of THC that has benefits like less psychoactive high, no anxiety or paranoia produced, a clear-headed energetic high, and no couch locking. We’re not the only ones who think that either, as Texas just said no to delta-8 THC illegalization. We’re dedicated to bringing you the best products available, so take a look through our Delta-8 THC deals and give this new-fangled version of THC a try.

 

Recap of what’s been going on in Texas

Last month, I reported on four different cannabis-related bills that were making their way through Texas’ Congress at that time. When I wrote the article, none of the four bills had passed. All bills represent a general loosening in Texas law toward cannabis and cannabis crimes. The following is a brief breakdown of the initiatives in Texan government:

HB 441: This bill would decrease criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis. Under this new legislation, up to an ounce would be only a class C misdemeanor with no jail time attached, or loss of driving license. While this bill would purportedly terminate the threat of being arrested for small-time possession, it also indicates that in order for offenders to take advantage of this, they’d have to plead no-contest to a charge (meaning there is one), which would then defer the case for a year.

No criminal record would be attached if a year is completed without incident. All of this indicates that this is not a decriminalization, as it implies a defendant will still face criminal charges if this exact procedure isn’t followed. Defendants would also be required to pay fines up to $500.

drug laws - Texas Delta-8 THC

After a big year in 2020, interest in growing and processing hemp in Wisconsin has dropped off considerably.

In Wisconsin, hemp growers and processors must register annually.

In 2019, Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) received 1,491 grower and 738 processor applications. 4,513 acres were planted and 4,037 acres harvested during the 2019 season.

In 2020, 1,537 grower and 761 processor applications were received. 5,444 acres were planted and as for the 2020 season’s harvest, that figure isn’t available yet.

The situation for this hemp season isn’t looking anywhere near as strong, with just 774 grower and 464 processor applications lodged this year to date according to Department data at the time of writing. The planting season for hemp in Wisconsin is mid-May to mid-June.

Speaking with Wisconsin Public Radio, DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski said the situation wasn’t unique to Wisconsin, with other states seeing a slide in interest.

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It is unclear if the upper house will approve the law or not. What is clear, however, is that the Bolsonaro administration adamantly opposes any kind of use of cannabis.

On Tuesday, June 8, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies’ Special Commission very narrowly approved a bill authorizing cannabis cultivation for medicinal, veterinary, scientific, and industrial use.

Government supporters tried their best to prevent the legislation from heading to the upper house for final approval, but Deputy Luciano Ducci’s crucial vote ensured the bill survived.

While the new law would legalize cannabis cultivation, in practice it would impose a series of limitations, allowing only cultivation by companies, patient associations, and NGOs. Individual cultivation would still be illegal should the text be approved in its current form.

Breaking News! Brazil Moves Toward Cannabis Legalization

Activists in Idaho are working to get a pair of initiatives on the 2022 ballot that each would loosen the state's restrictions on marijuana.

Organizers openly admit getting each measure even on the ballot will be an enormous challenge, but have submitted both in the hopes that at least one can clear the myriad hurdles in front of it.

The first is called the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, or IMMA. 

It would allow people with certain conditions to be prescribed weed by a doctor and then allow them to possess up to four ounces of it legally.

To support that, a system of medical marijuana dispensaries would be created. That would entail a licensing system for growers, processors and retailers, which exists in many other states.

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Washington state regulators are indicating a willingness to regulate Delta-8 THC products for sale in licensed cannabis dispensaries, although chemical experts say that the issue will require study before rules can be drafted. The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board announced that it intended to regulate the sale of Delta-8 THC products sold in the state’s licensed marijuana dispensaries.

Last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled that Delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid that occurs naturally and can also be processed from CBD, is a controlled substance not protected by the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp agriculture and products derived from the crop. Since that time, at least a dozen states including New York have banned Delta-8 production and sales.

April’s policy statement from the Washington cannabis board said that the DEA’s interpretation of federal hemp regulations is unenforceable and that the agency would create regulations for Delta-8 sold in licensed cannabis dispensaries. At a meeting of chemists from the University of Washington, Washington State University and private labs organized by the board last week, researchers said that study into Delta-8 has been limited so far.

“Frankly, the field hasn’t done too much with Delta-8, because it does almost the same thing as Delta-9,” said Nephi Stella, a professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at the University of Washington and co-director of the school’s Center for Cannabis Research.

The cannabis board’s policy statement holds that it is not legal to sell Delta-8 produced from CBD or other cannabinoids in licensed dispensaries. But some groups, including the Washington Cannabusiness Association, believe that the Liquor and Cannabis Board could regulate the extraction of naturally occurring Delta-8 THC.

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Throughout the country, cannabis regulations are changing every day. Some areas are experiencing more dramatic legislative upgrades than others, but every little step forward still counts. At the moment, there are 5 states that come to mind because, one, they are making big moves, or two, they are conservative states that most people were expecting would hold on to prohibition for much longer.

This week we’re focusing on the East Coast and Deep South, with updates from Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

 

Connecticut

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D), along with other state lawmakers, just reached a compromise on an adult-use cannabis bill that will likely be implemented in late spring of 2022. The bill would finally lay the groundwork for retail sales to launch in the state. According to estimates from MJBizDaily, the Connecticut recreational market could exceed $250 million in sales in just the first year, and reach a total of roughly $725 million by the fourth year.

Senate Bill 1118 has only just been drafted, however, and it still needs to a pass votes in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Opponents may still try to interfere, which could result in Gov. Lamont calling a special session on the issue this summer. It’s hard to say whether that will also delay the launch of recreational sales or not.

One of the major points in this agreement is offering priority licensing status to social equity applicants. According to the bill text, to qualify as a social equity applicant, the individual will need to have spent the last five out of ten years living in a “disproportionately impacted area, as defined by a jobless rate above 10% or a historically high drug conviction rate. Municipalities would be limited to one marijuana retailer and one micro-cultivator per 25,000 residents until July 1, 2024.”

Tennessee

Tennessee is a relatively conservative state, but the influx of new residents from blue states along the east and west coasts might be having an impact already. Last month, Republican Governor Bill Lee passed a limited medical cannabis bill that would lead to many changes in the way businesses operate within the state.

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Thanks to the passage of Proposition 207, Arizona is one step closer to making it easier for people with certain marijuana-related offenses on their records to have them expunged. The process will be free.

Last week, the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts sent out a press release with a link to a website that helps individuals find out if they qualify for expungement, along with the necessary application forms.

“Provisions for expunging records that show the arrest, charge, adjudication, conviction or sentence of certain marijuana-related offenses take effect July 12, 2021,” it said.

 

In order to fill out the forms, individuals will need specific case information, such as case or arrest number, the jurisdiction the offense happened in and the arresting agency.

Although not all marijuana-related offenses are covered, the law states anyone convicted, charged or arrested (or even acquitted) of possessing, consuming or transporting 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana, with no more than 12.5 grams being concentrate, is eligible for acquittal.

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To some, this latest development on recreational marijuana has been a long time coming as residents of the state have always supported the adult use of cannabis.

Montana is about to decriminalize the adult use of cannabis. The state has had a very stable medical marijuana program for a while now. And with this new development, the state’s revenue department seems prepared to take over the medical marijuana scheme to develop an efficient adult-use industry as stated in House Bill 701.

Governor Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 701 on May 18, following the legislature’s approval last month.

The lead up to this development

Montana has legalized the use of medical marijuana since 2004. To some, this latest development on recreational marijuana has been a long time coming as residents of the state have always supported the adult use of cannabis.


Photo by KeithBinns/Getty Images

It's Easier To Buy Marijuana In Montana And Oklahoma Than You Might Think

With an unexpectedly close 19-17 vote, the Senate passed legislation early Tuesday that would legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut, sending the bill to a closely divided House of Representatives on the penultimate day of the legislature’s 2021 session.

It was unclear if the House had the votes, time or inclination to attempt final passage before the constitutional deadline of midnight Wednesday, a task that grew more difficult Monday with concerns over attempted favoritism on licensing growers.

“We’ll make the time,” said House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, who led the working group that produced the bill and watched the denouement of an oddly tense and protracted vote in the Senate.

 

Only the vote cast by a retired police officer, Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, saved the Senate from needing Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz to break a tie. Six Democrats voted with the other 11 Republicans in opposition.


Cannabis - Ghana has initiated processes to permit the farming or cultivation of Indian hemp (weed) under license.

In 2020, some countries in Africa through their national legislations decided to permit the cultivation and export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, with some other countries authorizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

Ghana, having passed the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) joined these African countries in exploring the purported prospects in cannabis.

The Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019), which was passed by Parliament on March 20, 2020 and assented to by the President on May 11, 2020, have enshrined special provision relating to cannabis.

Section 43 of Act 1019 states that, “the Minister, on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis which has not more than 0.3% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed or for medicinal purposes”. 

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