WeedLife News Network

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

Just one day before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its final rule on hemp, Kentucky Senator Adrienne Southworth introduced legislation in the state to increase the allowable amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp to 1%.

While the USDA’s final rule maintains its 0.3% THC limit, Southworth, who assumed office Jan. 1, is hoping that may still change at the federal level. And if it doesn’t, she’s hoping Kentucky can lead the charge in helping other states make the change at a local level.

As one of the first states to begin cultivating hemp under a pilot program, Kentucky has long been a leader in legalization initiatives, Southworth says, including attempting to legalize the crop since the early 2000s. 

“From the beginning, there was always a clash between federal and state,” Southworth tells Hemp Grower. “The 0.3% THC—we always thought that was the best we could do at the time [of hemp’s legalization.]”

Waiting on Change


New Mexico could be one of the next states to join the green wave as state lawmakers prepare a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. Rep. Javier Martinez, a Democrat from Albuquerque, said recently that the legislation should be ready to introduce in the state legislature soon.

“It’s a big, complicated bill,” Martinez said. “We are wrapping up the final touches. This is a bill, at this point, five years in the making.”

Martinez, who has championed cannabis legalization each year he has been in office, said that this year’s bill is focused on three primary principles.

“The first one is protecting and enhancing the medical cannabis program which has been a godsend for many patients across the street,” he said. “The second principle is ensuring equity in the way we build out this industry, particularly repairing the war on drugs of people of color, and last but not least ensuring we have a smart regulatory and taxation framework, so we’re not over taxing an industry that’s just getting off its face so that the regulations are not overly burdensome on particularly the small business aspect of this industry.”

State Sees Economic Opportunity In Cannabis

New Mexico’s oil and gas industry, a major employer in the state, has seen a downturn due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. Many state leaders, including Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, believe that legal cannabis will bring new opportunities to the state.

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New Jersey’s top law enforcement official has extended an order halting prosecutions for low-level marijuana offenses through the end of March, according to a memo from his office addressed to prosecutors across the state.

The move from Attorney General Gurbir Grewal comes as two bills — one to launch a legal marijuana industry in New Jersey and another to halt many arrests related to the drug — sit on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk unsigned.

 

“As we continue to await anticipated final action on the pending cannabis legalization and marijuana decriminalization legislation, I am instructing all New Jersey municipal, county, and state prosecutors to seek an additional adjournment, until at least March 31, 2021, of any juvenile or adult case involving any of the following charges, alone or in combination with each other, where there are no other pending charges,” according to the letter, dated Jan. 22 and obtained by NJ Advance Media.

 

Grewal issued a directive in November for prosecutors to halt proceedings on marijuana possession and use offenses, having marijuana while driving or driving under the influence.

 

In cases where residents faced additional charges on top of low-level marijuana offenses, Grewal told prosecutors to “use their discretion” to either ask that the marijuana charges be dismissed or to postpone the entire case.

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While medical marijuana is legal in Florida, it can still cause a public employee to lose their job. South Florida Democrats Senator Tina Polsky and Representative Nicholas Duran, are trying to change that.

Boca Raton Democratic Senator Tina Polsky says when the state-approved medical marijuana, lawmakers left what she says is a loophole.

“So you’re allowed to use medical marijuana if you have a proper license but if you get drug tested at work having nothing to do with your performance you can be fired for using a legal substance,” said Polsky.

Polsky has a bill that would prevent public employers from firing, demoting, or suspending someone who tests positive. Miami Representative Nicholas Duran says a person would have to produce their medical marijuana card as an explanation for the positive result.

“In the event someone takes a drug test and they test positive for marijuana they should be able to sort of explain and show that they are registered,” said Duran. “That they are using medical marijuana and that’s the reason why their drug test came back positive for it”

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Although it supports the interstate transportation of legal hemp, a final hemp rule announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not include requirements for shipping documents that could help motor carriers avoid being stopped, inspected or subject to detention by law enforcement when crossing state boundaries.

“At this time, USDA recommends that transporters carry a copy of the producer’s license or authorization, as well as any other information the governing state or Indian tribe recommends or requires that will validate that the transporter is transporting legally grown hemp,” USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service said in a Jan. 19 Federal Register post. “USDA is not adding transportation paperwork requirements to this rule because it does not have jurisdiction over common carriers or other types of transporters.”

In lieu of any formal guidance, USDA encouraged producers of hemp and carriers providing hemp transportation services to provide copies of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency laboratory testing report to show the hemp is legal, a hemp grower license, invoice or bill of lading, and contact information of the load’s buyer and seller.

The interim rule, published in the Federal Register in October 2019, established a domestic hemp production program authorized by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, signed into law in December 2018.

The law and final rule make clear that motor carriers can legally transport hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family, but only if it is absent high levels of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gives pot its high. Cannabis with a THC level exceeding 0.3% is considered marijuana, which remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance regulated by DEA.

John Hahn

The filibuster will probably remain on the books. And that will inevitably cause marijuana to travel another rough road for the next few years.

Cannabis advocates rejoiced upon hearing that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer would replace Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader on Wednesday. The recent victory by the Democrats in the Georgia runoffs put the party in control of the Hill.

Advocates believe this power grab means the marijuana debate will finally get a fair shot in Congress. After all, McConnell has stood in the way of every pot-related measure to cross his path. But now that Schumer, a supporter of the cannabis cause, runs the show, all cannabis legislation is a sure thing. Right? 

In a perfect world, yes, Democratic control in both the U.S. House and Senate, not to mention a Democratic President would mean the party could push its agenda without any trouble from Republicans. But they have such a slim majority (the Senate is actually in a 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker) that they have to work with Republicans to accomplish anything — even marijuana reform. McConnell and Schumer must now come to terms on the inner workings of Senate business.  

So far, those negotiations are stagnant.  

Senator Mitch McConnell Congratulates Biden, But Will He Work With Him On Weed?

Most of Illinois’ recreational marijuana dispensaries are bunched up near the Wisconsin state border. This could be chalked up to the proximity to Chicago, but dispensaries like the Mapleglen Care Center in Rockford, Ill., a 20-minute drive from Wisconsin, or even the Sunnyside dispensary in South Beloit, Ill., clearly exist to take advantage of Wisconsinites’ dollars.

When the South Beloit dispensary opened, it was the largest recreational marijuana store in the state, and the strategic location chosen for such a massive venture was a tiny town with less than 8,000 residents. One might think that it was aiming to attract Wisconsin residents: The store is just 1,000 feet south of the state border, a straight shot from Madison through the I-39/90 interstate. According to South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl, the dispensary is expected to generate sales tax revenue for the town of up to $700,000 per year after seven years—as long as Wisconsin doesn’t legalize marijuana, Rehl added. His town’s budget now relies on the failure of Wisconsin to enact progressive policies in order to divert revenue away from the Badger State.

By refusing reform and allowing dollars to pour out of the state into Illinois and Michigan, both of which legalized adult-use marijuana and are a short drive away, Wisconsin is routinely losing millions of dollars. In September 2020 alone, the Illinois state government reported nearly $18 million in legal marijuana sales to out-of-state customers. Since the beginning of the year, Illinois received more than $100 million from out-of-state marijuana tourists.

Illinois is not alone in that respect: In Michigan, half-a-dozen marijuana dispensaries have cropped up—with several more in the process of opening—in the Upper Peninsula alone. The Upper Peninsula is home to barely 3% of Michigan’s population, but it is a stone’s throw away from the northern Wisconsin border. Dispensaries like Rize U.P. in Iron Mountain, Mich., are located virtually on the state border. The message is clear: “Come on in for legal weed since your state refuses to legalize it.”

The Budding Marijuana Tourism Industry

To be clear, it is a federal crime to bring marijuana over state borders, since cannabis is still federally banned. Which means that, unless we assume that literally millions of Wisconsinites committed federal crimes to legally buy marijuana in a neighboring state then illegally bring it home, we have to assume that countless people visit legal marijuana states and stay there long enough to enjoy the experience—which means paying for lodging, food and activities on top of the marijuana products themselves. As such, a new category of economic actors appears: marijuana tourists.

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Today CBD cannabis is present in cosmetics, creams, chewing gums, food, beers … and thanks to the best and most reliable European companies, you can now easily buy and order CBD flowers online. 

Hemp and CBD: an old story!

The history of the CBD begins over 5000 years ago. Hemp has been used as a useful and medicinal plant since then. The oldest finds were made a few years ago in Germany, where researchers have estimated hemp discoveries to be over 5500 years old. Other remains of hemp were discovered in China, which dates back to around 2800 BC. were dated.

At the time, hemp was not only grown for its psychoactive effects. Even then, the hemp seeds were already considered to be very rich in protein and nutritious. But that’s not all. Even the ancient Chinese knew how to use them almost indestructible fibres of the plant and made clothes from hemp fibres.

Hemp, flax and nettle were considered the most important fibre crops in Europe at the time. But not only here in Europe, but also among the ancient Egyptians, clothes made of hemp were found.

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Legislators are debating whether or not to pass a bill that will increase the amount of marijuana that can be possessed, from 10 grams to 1 ounce.
This states that a person in possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, will not face criminal charges, but a civil offense.

The debate about marijuana has been on-going for years, and with some delegates coming into office who state officials say, are more progressive and this bill could have a chance to pass.

However Maryland delegate, Wayne Hartman, representing District 38 says, one of the biggest concerns that comes with allowing someone to have a larger amount of marijuana is  impaired driving, and less productivity among people who use marijuana.

“It’s just a matter of public for me overall, public safety safety I think it’s a huge public safety factor and just societal issue and productivity and all those types of things,” says Del. Hartman. “All those issues, every little bit keeps adding up and at what point is enough enough, and I think we need to stand our ground on it.”

For now nothing is official but this bill go into effect as early as October 1st. If you are found in possession of more than the legal amount of marijuana, it is considered a civil offense and you can face a fine of up to $1,000.

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There is now a much clearer roadmap towards conducting legal cannabis-related activities in Mexico.

In our last post, we alerted you on the publication of the new Regulations on Sanitary Control for the Production, Research and Medical Use of Cannabis and Its Pharmacological Derivatives (the “Medical Regulations”). In this post, we provide an overview of what the Medical Regulations will address and what it potentially means to your business.

As expected, the Medical Regulations deal with the control, promotion and sanitary supervision of raw materials, pharmacological derivatives and medicines. Regulated activities include:

Primary production for manufacturing supply;Raw material generation for research and seed production;Health and pharmacological research;Manufacturing of pharmacological derivatives and medicines and medical activities related to diagnoses, therapeutic, rehabilitation and palliative care;Importation, exportation and marketing.

Activities connected with all of the above will be authorized through licenses or permits, and the Regulations provide the requirements to obtain them. Among the activities that will be authorized officially for the first time are:

Quality control laboratoriesGrowing for research and industrial purposesCannabis research protocolsProcessing, transport, import (both for industries and for self-consumption)ExportIssuance of cannabis-related prescriptionsSet-up of establishments permitted to sell medical cannabis products

The regulations clarify that COFEPRIS (Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks) will not be the only agency to deal with. Although COFEPRIS will remain the chief agency involved in cannabis-related applications, other agencies are also charged with interpreting and applying these Medical Regulations, along with issuing permits and licenses. All of this means added time and costs that companies have to factor into their business plans for Mexico.

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

Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M., announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published the final rule regulating the production of industrial hemp in the United States.

The final rule establishes how states should proceed with regulations for the hemp industry.  The modifications to the interim rule were made following public comments regarding lessons learned during the 2020 growing season.

“The final rule will impact Louisiana hemp growers. However, it will require changes in the law and regulations at the state level, which takes time,” said Strain. “The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry will work with the legislature during the 2021 legislative session to align Louisiana’s hemp law with the final rule.” said Strain.

Some of the changes Louisiana hemp growers can expect include:

Licensing requirementsThe deadline to harvest hemp once the official THC sample is collected and analyzed extended from 15 to 30 daysProcedures for sampling the THC concentration levels for hempProcedures for disposal and remediation of non-compliant plantsCompliance provisionsProcedures for handling violations

Currently, Louisiana has 95 industrial hemp licensees. The final rule is available for viewing in the Federal Register and will be effective on March 22, 2021.

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In a downer for California’s legal marijuana industry, regulators say some highway billboards advertising such products must come down.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control on Thursday ordered billboard companies to stop selling space for cannabis marketing and take down existing ads on roads that cross state borders. Previously, such ads were only banned within a 15-mile radius of the California border.

The new decision covers about three dozen state and interstate routes, including the heavily traveled US 101 in Los Angeles.

The advertisements can remain on highways that lie entirely within California borders.

The decision heeds a ruling by a judge in San Luis Obispo County that found interstate highway cannabis ads are illegal under Proposition 64. The voter-approved 2016 ballot measure legalized marijuana for adult recreational use and included restrictions on advertisements.

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Brexit had meant that Bedica and Bedrolite oils, which are solely produced by Dutch firm Transvaal Pharmacy, were unable to be legally prescribed for UK residents.

But a Dutch chemist responsible for producing the oils revealed today that the Dutch health ministry had granted a six month reprieve which allows for his company, Transvaal Pharmacy, to prescribe the oils to UK residents.

 
 

The cannabis oils have revolutionised the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy and has led to children who formerly suffered hundreds of seizures daily to go long periods of time seizure free.

 

Cole Thomson, 8, with mother Lisa Quarrell, 39 and brother Dylan Thomson, 11.

 
 
 

Cole Thomson, 8, from East Kilbride suffers from a rare epileptic condition that was resistant to being treated by drugs.

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New Zealand police are putting an end to the annual practice of searching for cannabis grows using helicopters and planes, reportsStuff

The operation has reportedly been taking place for more than 20 years and costs upwards of $700,000 annually.

“With the increased harm in many communities arising from other drugs, particularly methamphetamine, a one-size-fits-all annual aerial national cannabis operation no longer represents the most appropriate deployment of police resources,” a police spokesperson told Stuff.

Police Minister Poto Williams was reportedly unaware of the change until she was reached by Stuffearlier this week.

“While this is an operational matter, I have asked for a full briefing as to the rationale behind this decision,” Williams said. 

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Parties interested in producing, selling or owning cannabis and hemp will be able to register to do so from Jan 29 when certain parts of the plant are due to be removed from the Type 5 narcotics list.

A variety of savoury dishes, including pizza, kaprao and khao yum and drinks, which were made using cannabis as an ingredient are shown here. The dishes were displayed at an event to develop cannabis-mixed recipes. Only parts of the plants grown for medical research in legally permissible locations are used.  Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya.

 
 

Leaves, stalks, stems and roots of the plants will be expunged from the list, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) secretary-general Paisarn Dunkum said yesterday (Jan 20). This would not include seeds, including flowers, which have high drug content. And individuals are still not allowed to grow both cannabis and hemp. Mr Paisarn was speaking at a training session organised for state officials who will handle the registration.

From Jan 29, individuals, legal entities, government offices, community enterprises and companies will be able to register to use the legal parts of cannabis and hemp for medical purposes and in textile, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, he said. This is a part of the government’s policy to promote hemp and cannabis as a new cash crop, he added. In Bangkok, registration applications will ben received at the office of the FDA while in other provinces, each application will be received and processed by provincial public health offices, he said. However, applications for the import and export of hemp will have to be submitted to the FDA office, he said.

 

The Education Ministry and Public Health Ministry yesterday signed an agreement to develop a training system for parties to start a business using parts of hemp. The ministries have launched a course on how to use legal parts of the plant in the food, health, spa and tourism industries. Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he had stressed the need to develop more courses that will serve the market.

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Will We See Cannabis Reform In 2021?

With all, that’s going on in the cannabis industry federal cannabis reform is at the top of the list. Many investors feel with proper cannabis reform it will help the cannabis industry reach new levels. Now that Joe Biden has taken office many feel this will help the push for cannabis reform in the United States.

Not only that more states are working to go legal in the near future. With this, the U.S. cannabis industry would have the ability to see more revenue with each new State. This is because the more states that go legal the more chances to set up new markets for cannabis consumers.

With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris currently in office, there are high hopes for cannabis reform. In recent news, the first step was taken to introduce a cannabis reform bill. Now, much work will have to be done as some advocates are not exactly pleased with this recent cannabis bill.

However, it would federally decriminalize cannabis. Greg Steube who is a U.S.represenitive is the one who filed the measure to reschedule cannabis. If approved it will take cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act. This has the potential to be a big win for the cannabis industry.

What Are The Next Steps For Cannabis Reform

Now the language of the bill has not been presented to the public just yet but a small piece was shared with an online platform the Marijuana Moment. “the Attorney General of the United States shall, by order not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this section, transfer marijuana…from schedule I of such Act to schedule III of such Act.”

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The City of Oakland, California, continues to pave the way towards social and economic equity in the cannabis business. The city has launched a new million-dollar workforce development grant program. The program is designed to recruit, train, and employ citizens who have disproportionately and unjustly suffered from the War on Drugs. This includes people who have lived in overpoliced neighborhoods in Oakland for at least two years and have endured a cannabis conviction in Oakland. 

Oakland continues to smoke every other city in America in terms of social equity programs. Last fall, Oakland launched the first government-funded shared kitchen production workspace for social equity Cannabis entrepreneurs. The new Cannabis Equity Property Purchase Program earmarks $2 million of funding for cannabis business equity applicants to purchase a property leveraged by multiple equity applicants.

This support is critical, especially in the Bay Area, where real estate prices are notoriously high. Removing this huge financial barrier to entry helps entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds enter the industry and build community equity and generational wealth.

Gregory Minor, Oakland's Assistant to the City Administrator, says the programs "were the products of listening to cannabis operators and equity advocates, and they are based on the 2017 race and equity analysis of the cannabis industry in Oakland that established an equitable approach to regulating cannabis in Oakland."

Righting the wrongs of history

Funding for these programs comes from a statewide California program that earmarked $20 million to support cannabis equity programs. Black and Brown people, who were the most targeted by the War on Drugs, made up 64 percent of the 1,000 plus felony-level marijuana arrests in California in 2019. The quest for equitable inclusion in the legal cannabis economy is still very much an uphill battle for most of America's cannabis industry. In New Jersey, lawmakers are currently hitting a familiar stumbling block, figuring out pragmatic ways to include and empower social equity entrepreneurs and employees. Disagreements about how to implement social equity programs are responsible for delaying the opening of what will become one of the nation's largest adult-use cannabis markets.

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Many people might not think of Texas as a state where marijuana legalization is possible. But the state's changing demographics have led to at least the potential for changes in cannabis laws.

There's also plenty of money involved. As data from other states attest, the legalization of marijuana paves the way for entrepreneurial opportunities, job creation, and increased tax revenue to go to projects that improve communities and support those most impacted by the War on Drugs.

Lawmakers have filed about two dozen marijuana-related bills have in the Lone Star State, according to cannabis advocacy organization NORML. They include proposals to expand the state's medical marijuana program, increase the amount of THC the state allows in cannabis products, and legalize adult-use cannabis.

Few expect adult-use legalization to become law in Texas, but there is strong backing for legislation in the other two areas.

Some Texans want to give more people access to medical marijuana.

Texas has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country. The state currently ranks in the bottom tier of states to allow access to cannabis for medical treatment. 

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Some changes could be coming to how North Dakota regulates hemp.

The law requires the state to sample and test hemp products.

Under House Bill 1045, the state will now be able to charge a fee for that testing.

The bill will also allow North Dakota labs to be considered for the procurement process instead of those samples being shipped to the lowest bidder in the country.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said the changes are more in line with what the federal law states.

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Funding has been made available for a new programme providing cannabis-based medical products to patients to begin later this year, the Department of Health has announced.

Use of products licensed under the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme can apply where conventional treatments are unsuccessful.

The types of conditions that might benefit from such an approach include spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy.

On Thursday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced that the programme would be added to the HSE Service Plan 2021.

Prescribe

“Ultimately it will be the decision of the medical consultant, in consultation with their patient, to prescribe a particular treatment, including a cannabis-based treatment, for a patient under their care. It is important to state that there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country,” he said.

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