This Monday, June 28, around noon, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) approved the Declaration of Unconstitutionality on the prohibition of adult use of marijuana in Mexico , after which Congress did not reach a consensus regarding the approval of the Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis .
With eight votes in favor of the eleven ministers that make up the plenary session of the Supreme Court, the proposal of Minister Norma Lucía Piña Hernández was endorsed. It pointed out that the Congress of the Union had failed to comply with the Court's mandate by failing to regulate the recreational use of marijuana. This Declaration of Unconstitutionality is expected to be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) this week.
What does the declaration of the SCJN really mean?
In an interview with Entrepreneur en Español , Luis Armendáriz , corporate lawyer for the Cannabis industry at Caam Legal and representative of Hoban Law Group, pointed out that this resolution raises more problems than solutions.
“It is a scenario where the Judiciary is legislating, because it is annulling, modifying, a law. The problem is that, although it is a step forward, the legal vacuum is expanding because you can already consume, but they are not regulating the industry. Where do I buy it? Who can sell it? Can I grow it to sell or not? What are the limits? In other words, a lot of legal uncertainty was created, how are you going to know what you can do and what not? " explains the specialist.
Armendariz pointed out that this Declaration of Unconstitutionality "decriminalizes but does not regulate" the cannabis industry and all the processes involved. Therefore, there will be situations that are legal and illegal at the same time "because it is going to lend a lot to the interpretation and perception of the people ."
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said what most of us are thinking on Monday: The federal government’s longstanding prohibition on marijuana may well be past its expiration date.
Thomas, widely seen as one of the most conservative justices on the high court, made the observation in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to turn down the appeal of a Colorado medical cannabis dispensary that sought the same federal tax breaks afforded to other businesses.
Citing Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 Supreme Court case that cemented the federal government’s prohibition on weed, Thomas said the law may have finally outlived its usefulness, given the growing number of states and cities that have embraced legalization, both for medical and recreational use.
“Sixteen years ago, this Court held that Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce authorized it ‘to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana,” Thomas wrote in his statement. “The reason, the Court explained, was that Congress had ‘enacted comprehensive legislation to regulate the interstate market in a fungible commodity’ and that ‘exemption[s]’ for local use could undermine this ‘comprehensive’ regime. The Court stressed that Congress had decided ‘to prohibit entirely the possession or use of [marijuana]’ and had ‘designate[d] marijuana as contraband for any purpose.’ Prohibiting any intrastate use was thus, according to the Court, ‘‘necessary and proper’’ to avoid a ‘gaping hole’ in Congress’ ‘closed regulatory system.”
He added: “Whatever the merits of Raich when it was decided, federal policies of the past 16 years have greatly undermined its reasoning. Once comprehensive, the Federal Government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana. This contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains basic principles of federalism and conceals traps for the unwary.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill on Thursday that tightens limits on cannabis concentrates and puts restrictions on medical marijuana patients and their physicians. The measure, House Bill 1317 (HB21-1317), also funds research into the effect that high-potency marijuana products can have on developing minds.
Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician and sponsor of the legislation, said that the main objective of the bill is to keep cannabis concentrates away from young people so that they cannot “get their hands on an incredible amount of products and very concentrated products that they can then give or sell to people their age or younger who don’t yet have access to legal market because they’re not 21.”
Under the legislation, the daily limit on the amount of marijuana concentrates that can be purchased will be reduced from 40 grams per person per day to eight grams. The cannabis concentrate limit for medical marijuana patients ages 18 to 20 will be two grams. The bill will also update the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system to monitor cannabis concentrate purchases by medical marijuana patients’ identification numbers in real time, rather than at the end of the day.
House Speaker Alec Garnett, who introduced the bill, said that the change to the tracking system will prevent buyers from purchasing their daily limit multiple times in a single day. According to data from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, cannabis extract use by teens doubled from 2015 to 2019. Garnett said that 18-year-old medical marijuana patients purchasing more than the daily limit is the primary way that high-potency cannabis products end up in the possession of young people.
“This bill will close that loophole,” Garnett said. “This bill will make sure that we aren’t creating a gray market on our high school campuses and that our high school kids, their developing brains aren’t flooded with the most high-potency products when they don’t need them.”
The South Dakota Department of Health’s proposed rules for medical marijuana include a $100 annual fee for card holders and a $5,000 yearly fee for businesses that sell the cannabis.
The state health agency released 105 pages of draft rules this week that include license fees, the renewal process, packaging guidelines and security plans, among other things.
“The proposed administrative rules are one of many steps our department has taken to develop a safe and responsible medical cannabis program in South Dakota, as the voters intended,” South Dakota Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.
The businesses that sell medical marijuana would have to renew their commercial licenses every year.
Each employee of a commercial cannabis business would also have to be certified by the state health department and could not have violent offenses on their background report within the last 10 years, the Argus Leader reported.
The new 2021 World Drug Report shows cannabis potency has skyrocketed in parts of the world and that has the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) thinking member states should consider outlawing weed advertising.
In just 24 years, “cannabis potency had increased by as much as four times in parts of the world, even as the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40 per cent,” notes a UNODC press release accompanying the release of the report Thursday.
From 2002 to 2019, THC climbed from about six per cent to more than 11 per cent in Europe; in the U.S., THC levels increased from approximately four per cent in 1995 to 16 per cent in 2019.
Youth underestimation of cannabis dangers is growing “despite evidence that cannabis use is associated with a variety of health and other harms, especially among regular long-term users,” notes the statement.
UNODC executive director Ghada Waly points out “lower perception of drug use risks has been linked to higher rates of drug use,” highlighting “a gap between perception and reality” that needs to be closed.
The USA’s Hemp Industries Association has released a position statement on the controversial cannabinoid delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8THC).
THC is the most commonly known (and pursued) intoxicating cannabinoid, specifically delta-9. But there’s also delta-8-THC, a minor cannabinoid naturally occurring in cannabis plants in very small quantities. However, it can also be produced by altering the non-intoxicating (cannabidiol) CBD. Legal hemp, which contains very low delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, can be a rich source of CBD.
As the legal definition of hemp in the USA only refers to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol levels, that has created some controversy as to the legality of delta-8. Some believe it isn’t illegal and an industry has rapidly sprung up around it, although several states have made moves to ban delta-8 THC. There is also debate on whether altering CBD to produce it makes the delta-8 THC “synthetic”.
Back in March, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable wanted to see a lot of regulatory distance put between hemp CBD and Delta-8. But the Hemp Industries Association has recently come out as a backer, supporting the following views:Δ8THC extracted from hemp is not a controlled substance under federal lawΔ8THC derived from CBD does not meet the definition of “synthetic THC”, but even if it does it is not a controlled substanceThe hemp industry should advocate for safe Δ8THC products and production methodsProhibition is a failed concept that should not be applied to Δ8THC or other hemp-derived cannabinoid
The HIA’s support is based on a legal opinion from Kight Law that also states Delta-8 THC, along with all other hemp-derived cannabinoids, were federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. With regard to it being “synthetic”, the legal opinion provided says it isn’t entirely clear as there is no generally accepted definition in US law of the term “synthetic”.
The measure now moves to the House for consideration and, based on the vote in the Senate, is likely to pass unless constituents make their voices heard in opposition.
On June 23, 2021, the Oregon Senate approved on a vote of 23-6 a measure (SB 864) that, if passed by the House of Representatives and signed by Governor Kate Brown, will allow cities and counties to raise their portion of the sales tax on marijuana items sold in recreational dispensaries from 3%, as allowed under current law, to 10%. This means that the total tax applied at the time of sale could increase from 20% to 27%, representing a 35% tax hike to Oregon recreational cannabis consumers.
While the bill, if it becomes law, will not automatically result in a tax increase, it will allow the governing bodies of cities and counties to raise the marijuana sales tax within their own jurisdictions, much like current law. However, if past experience is predictive, it is nearly certain that most or all local governments will take the necessary steps to enact the tax increase. Customers who present current, valid OMMP cards at the time of sale will continue to be exempt from this tax.
Photo by 400tmax/Getty Images
The measure now moves to the House for consideration and, based on the vote in the Senate, is likely to pass unless constituents make their voices heard in opposition. If you’d like to make your voice heard, you can use this online tool to look up your representative. The legislative session is set to expire on Sunday, June 27, 2021, so time is of the essence.
North Macedonia’s government cannabis regulation body is working on drafting legal framework for decriminalisation, legalisation and use of the substance, the government said on June 24.
The country legalised use of medical cannabis in 2016. In November 2020, Social Democrat Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he supports the decriminalisation, but also legalisation, of cannabis consumption saying that this will help the tourism and hospitality industry in the country.
Travel industry publication Travel Daily News reports that cannabis tourism is a growing area. Rather like wine tourism where enthusiasts visit vineyards, cannabis tourists visit areas where the drug is legal.
At the second meeting, the working group adopted definitions of the terms ‘decriminalisation’, ‘legalisation’ and ‘depenalisation’ regarding cannabis use, the government's statement said.
The definitions of terms are needed to better understand the levels of permitted use of cannabis, including recreational use.
Analogies between the patterns and paths that cannabis legalization is taking—between Canada and Europe, and more recently, the U.S. and Europe—are certainly in the room this year. Especially as different European states begin to at least engage if not normalize parts of the cannabis discussion—from medical and CBD to full boat adult use.
To some extent, the political fight over legalization has certainly been divided between the cannabinoids in a way not really seen in either the United States or Canada—and that has been a deliberate strategy by advocates and the industry alike as medical reform has either stalled or moved too slowly for real progress to be made. Ultimately, patients pay the steepest price.
To some (notably patients) the parsing of legalization between THC and CBD is unbelievably frustrating. However, to lobbyists and commercial interests, the opening, finally, of a European market for at least one part of the plant is a strategic place-marker that has advanced some parts of reform in some countries—while leaving other conversations hanging.
To some extent, the recent victories over CBD in the European Union (EU) are clearly a sign that at least one part of the plant is normalizing. On the other hand, that such advances have only come post legal action is a sign of how treacherous and legally challenging the path to market actually is—and all over Europe—and how much CBD reform is a weak substitute for either medical use that is integrated into healthcare systems, much less adult use.
Recent Significant European Victories
The entire CBD discussion has been put to the test over the last six months in both France and Germany, and further in ways that the rest of Europe is clearly watching, if not merely skipping on the road to full recreational reform.
The Norway City Council on Monday struck growing facilities and microbusinesses from its ordinance allowing marijuana establishments within city limits.
Such operations will not be allowed in Norway to avoid odor issues, City Manager Ray Anderson told The Daily News.
The council requested the change at the June 7 meeting and can revisit the issue in the future if it wishes, Anderson said.
Because of the amendment, a resolution that would have defined the process for accepting, evaluating and approving applications for licenses to operate marijuana businesses was removed from Monday’s agenda, as it had several references to growing facilities and microbusinesses.
Additionally, the city needed more time to refine the rubric for evaluating the businesses, Anderson said.
Let’s be honest, the cannabis market is becoming a cut-throat one, with everyone looking to make a buck, a range of low-level and possibly dangerous products on the market, and a rush by local governments to save revenue by outlawing what they can’t regulate. This brings up the question of whether a hemp-derived THC like delta-8 threatens the revenue of the legal cannabis industry, and explains why recreational states are quickly banning it.
Delta-8 THC runs the gamut from accusations that it threatens the legal industry, to governments like Texas which recently failed to fully criminalize it. What’s all the fuss about? Well, this alternate form of THC gives a milder psychoactive high, doesn’t create the anxiety that delta-9 can, and leaves users with more energy and less couch locking. There are very good reasons why delta-8 is liked by so many, and we have an array of great Delta-8 THC deals that can get you started with this new form of THC.
What is hemp-derived THC?
In short, THC and CBD are the two more prevalent cannabinoids in a cannabis plant. Some plants, which we use the term ‘marijuana’ for as a differentiator, have more than .3% of THCA in the plant, whereas the term ‘hemp’ implies cannabis with less than .3% THCA, and a higher amount of CBDA. The reason I use the terms ‘THCA’ and ‘CBDA’, instead of ‘THC’ and ‘CBD’, is because THCA and CBDA are the precursor acids that are found in cannabis flowers, and the actual compounds for which these measurements are made in fresh and dry plants. THC and CBD occur only after decarboxylation. Even the term ‘THC’ really isn’t a good one, as that merely stands for ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’, and the THC of interest is specifically delta-9.
It is much easier to extract THCA from marijuana plants since there’s way more of it there. In hemp plants, it only exists in small amounts, but CBDA exists in larger amounts. This CBDA can be converted into CBD, and then into delta-9 by way of a solvent and some processing. Realistically, this is not the issue, though. The issue, is that it can also be used to source delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 THC is also naturally occurring, like delta-9, and is produced through the oxidation of delta-9 when it comes into contact with oxygen. This happens at an extremely low rate, however, so in order to produce enough to be used in products, human processing help is needed. This has caused an argument as to whether delta-8 should be considered a synthetic, and bound to laws related to THC synthetics.
Roxanne Frost, a psychology student at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, consumes cannabis every day to help treat her anxiety and ADHD. Frost, 26, has used medical marijuana since 2015 when she was working as a preschool educator. At William Paterson, she would smoke early in the morning for a sense of normalcy.
“Every single paper I have ever written, I have written while high late at night,” Frost says. “It was able to help me to articulate my words better, be more creative [and] not feel so pressured or critical of myself.”
The administration at William Paterson saw things differently. While medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey since 2010, using cannabis for recreational or medical purposes on campus is a violation of the university’s code of conduct, according to Mary Beth Zeman, director of the school’s public relations. University police may arrest students who are suspected of using marijuana, “depending on quantity and surrounding circumstances.”
Even though medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, the University of California system bans all use, possession and sale, except for approved academic research, and Stanford University prohibits possession and use of marijuana on any university-owned property. Similarly, after New York state legalized personal use of marijuana in March for people age 21 and older, a Syracuse University administrator sent an email to students in April reinforcing the university’s ban on cannabis use, even if a student has a state-issued medical marijuana card.
After Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed the state legislature's bill legalizing recreational marijuana on Tuesday, eyes are now on Rhode Island and New Hampshire as the final holdouts in New England to legalize cannabis.
Some marijuana rights advocates told ABC News it's only a matter of time before the two states join their neighbors, given the millions in extra revenue from marijuana sales and the calls for criminal justice reform from their constituents.
"I think the pressure will be there, being islands of prohibition in the Northeast," DeVaughn Ward, the senior legislative counsel for the non-profit group the Marijuana Policy Project, told ABC News.
While a vote on a legalization bill in Rhode Island is gaining strength following a passage in its state Senate, advocates on the ground in New Hampshire told ABC News that their state needs extra work.
With parliamentary approval this month of a bill to legalize medical, cosmetic, and industrial cannabis, Morocco edges closer to establishing a legal cannabis industry. Developed by the Ministry of the Interior, the bill regulates activities related to the cultivation, production, manufacture, transport, and marketing of cannabis as well as its export and import for medical and therapeutic purposes. The National Agency for the Regulation of Activities Related to Cannabis was established to authorize all cannabis-related activities.
Morocco is considered one of the most stable countries in the Mediterranean and North African region. In December 2020, Israel and Morocco officially normalized a long-standing informal relationship that has fostered Israeli tourism and business ties over many years. But the bond between Morocco and Israel extends far beyond a few tourists and fortune seekers.
Morocco was once the home of a significant Jewish population that fled Ancient Israel in the 6th century BCE. By the time Israel was recognized as a state in 1948, Morocco’s Jewish community numbered some 250,000. Over the next few decades, the majority of Moroccan Jewry immigrated to Israel, becoming one of the most significant cultural groups in the country. To this day, Moroccan culture is influential in Israel’s culinary, music, business, and religious realms. Coming on the heels of normalization with the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, no one was surprised by the Israel-Morocco handshake.
Regulating Cannabis Will Help Farmers
Morocco’s cannabis black market is a huge part of the country’s informal economy. The U.N. International Narcotics Control Board reported in 2018 that 400 tons of cannabis deriving from Morocco were seized in 2017, almost 86% of seizures in all of Europe. More than 107,000 people were prosecuted for drug crimes in 2017 according to Mustapha El Khalfi, then Morocco’s government spokesperson. Arrest warrants have been issued for another 50,000 people. These people are subject to blackmail and the threat that they will be exposed to the authorities, forcing them to live clandestinely and have limited freedom of movement.
The vast majority of Morocco’s cannabis is cultivated in the Rif region, one of the poorest areas in the country and the seat of much public unrest and outcry over state corruption. The Rif mountains are known for a highly prized landrace called Beldia Kef (or Kief) which is considered particularly adapted to the local terrain and climate. This strain is valued for its high CBD content and low need for water. But as market demand for THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid, increases new strains that are less hardy and require a great deal more irrigation are being introduced in an area that is increasingly becoming more arid. Unregulated cannabis cultivation incurs ecological consequences such as deforestation, soil erosion, and water source depletion, that impact the entire region.
Rhode Island just made history by approving a legal cannabis bill. The proposed legislation passed 29-9 earlier this week.
The bill is sponsored by Michael McCaffrey, Democrat and the Senate Majority Leader and Health & Human Services Chairman Joshua Miller, another Democrat. It was introduced back in March, and another legal cannabis proposal was brought up in the state by Governor Dan McKee.
“It is a historic day, as it is the first time a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis has reached the floor of either legislative chamber in Rhode Island,” Miller said regarding the bill. “It is important that we act expeditiously to enact a regulatory framework.
“Cannabis legalization is as much about reconciliation as it is revenue,” McCaffrey added regarding the reasons behind introducing this bill. “[P]olicies of prohibition have disproportionately impacted communities of color, and I believe we must ensure any effort to legalize cannabis recognizes and rectifies those wrongs. Low barriers to entry, expungement reform, and broad access to programs designed to increase access for individuals and communities impacted by the failed War on Drugs are an important and necessary component.”
Not only do the Senate and governor have bills introduced, the House does, too. Rhode Island’s House of Representatives also has a bill backed by Scott Slater, a Democrat. However, the House will not be considering the bill until summer or all, while the Senate is moving forward.
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission fined both TILT Holdings Inc. (CSE: TILT) (OTCQX: TLLTF) and Ayr Strategies (OTC: AYRWF) last week for over $200,000 each as both companies try to resolve issues each blamed on previous management. The settlement also allows each company to move forward with plans in the state.
Tilt Holdings agreed to the settlement resolving concerns of the CCC, which cleared a path for the provisional licensure for the retail sale of adult-use and medical cannabis in Massachusetts. Tilt CEO Gary Santo said in a statement, “With today’s decision, TILT has fully resolved the dispute regarding certain agreements entered into by the original management team of TILT with other license applicants. In February, TILT terminated all remaining contractual relationships between the company and prospective applicants. At yesterday’s meeting of the CCC, the commissioners ratified a stipulated agreement resolving the related investigation pursuant to which TILT has agreed to make a $275,000 payment to the CCC Marijuana Regulation Fund.” TILT said it is now positioned to complete the licensing process and increase its retail footprint in Massachusetts with the opening of two additional dispensaries in Cambridge and Brockton following final inspection and approval by the Commission. Both facilities are fully built out.
“We worked diligently with the Cannabis Control Commission to resolve the investigation that has stalled our remaining state licenses for the past two years,” said Santo. “We appreciate the time, effort and professionalism afforded to TILT by the CCC staff and are thrilled to have come to an amicable resolution with the Commission. Since joining the TILT team, I have made it a point to reinforce our focus on building a culture of compliance and have taken steps to build out our compliance team across the organization, making key hires that reflect both depth of industry knowledge and integrity in processes. The conclusion of this investigation marks the turning of a page for TILT and we look forward to serving many new patients and customers in our communities later this year.”
A new measure, proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, was approved by the California Legislature on Monday and aims to help legal cannabis operators acquire permanent licenses.
According to Newsom’s office, about 82% of the state’s legal operators still hold provisional licenses as of April 2021. These provisional licenses are due on Jan. 1, 2022.
Dealing with the bottleneck
While adult-use cannabis was made legal in the Golden State in 2016, most growers, retailers and manufacturers have been unable to transition from provisional licenses to permanent ones, which need to be renewed on an annual basis.
This is due to the high cost of auditing operations to comply with environmental regulations, according to a report by the Los Ageles Times.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the money is “essential in supporting a well-regulated, equitable, and sustainable cannabis market.”
The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2022, will for the first time allow state-registered patients to obtain “raw or crude” cannabis for the purpose of “inhalation.” The state’s access program currently limits patients to non-inhaled forms of cannabis, like infused oils.
Beginning next year, registered medical cannabis patients will be able to purchase up to two and a half ounces of medical cannabis flower per 14 day period from licensed providers.
Similar legislation legalizing medical cannabis flower was enacted in Minnesota earlier this year. Louisiana and Minnesota were among the only states barring medical cannabis patients from accessing flower.
Governor John Bel Edwards (D) also signed legislation into law last week removing the threat of jail time for low-level marijuana possession offenses. The reduced penalties law takes effect on August 1, 2021.
Backers of Missouri's successful 2018 ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana say they plan to unveil their next effort — an initiative petition targeting the 2022 ballot to legalize recreational use — by the end of June.
The timing will allow signature collection to begin in August, says John Payne, though he declined to specify details on possession and cultivation limits while the campaign's drafting committee is still finalizing the petition.
With Missouri dispensaries opening across the state, Payne says he's confident that residents are ready to expand cannabis legalization. If the measure is passed, Missouri would join fourteen states that have legalized recreational marijuana — including its neighbor Illinois, which Newsweek reports is on pace to finish the year with more than $1 billion in cannabis sales.
According to Payne, it was local polling in 2019 that showed "a strong majority that supports legalizing the adult use of marijuana" — and which motivated the creation of Missourians For A New Approach. The campaign attempted to repeat the success of 2018 by placing a question on the November 2020 ballot, one asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would effectively treat cannabis the way the law treats alcohol.
Payne, who served as the 2020 initiative's campaign manager, says the surprising level of public support for adult-use cannabis was borne out in the streets — at least, initially.
Fraud charges have been laid against CannTrust Holdings Inc.’s former chief executive Peter Aceto and two former directors, all of whom face possible jail time of up to five years if found guilty in a sweeping quasi-criminal case led by the Ontario Securities Commission.
Company co-founder and former board chair Eric Paul and former director Mark Litwin are also charged with insider trading following a months-long investigation by Canada’s largest capital markets regulator. The OSC moved in following blockbuster revelations in the summer of 2019 that a Health Canada inspection of the publicly traded company uncovered unlicensed cannabis growing at its Pelham, Ont. facility.
The three men are facing a total of more than a dozen counts that include allegations of making misleading disclosure to investors in a case that will be prosecuted in the Ontario Court of Justice due to its quasi-criminal nature, rather than before an OSC tribunal as a civil matter. This marks the first time the commission has gone after a public company over disclosure using its quasi-criminal powers.
Quasi-criminal offences such as fraud and insider trading carry penalties including jail terms of up to five years less a day and fines of up to $5 million for each conviction.
In a statement Tuesday laying out the charges, the OSC said the allegations “relate to efforts to conceal the illegal growing of cannabis at CannTrust over a 10-month period in 2018 and 2019.”