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

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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Cities and towns across New York are considering whether to allow retail cannabis dispensaries and consumption lounges legalized under state law to operate within their jurisdictions, with some officials urging them to act as a deadline approaches.

In March, the New York state legislature and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved legislation to legalize marijuana for adults and establish a regulated and taxed economy for the commercial production and sale of cannabis. Under that legislation, municipal governments have the right to opt out of the establishment of licensed cannabis dispensaries and consumption lounges within their borders. Towns and cities that decide not to allow such businesses must hold a referendum on the ban if at least 20 percent of registered voters sign petitions calling for such a vote.

During a recent webinar, Sarah Brancatell, the legislative director for the New York State Association of Towns, warned municipal leaders that do not want cannabis lounges and retailers in their communities that they have only until the end of the year to approve a local ordinance. Cities and towns that do not opt out before that time will not be able to in the future.

“The local law has to be adopted on or before Dec. 31, 2021. That’s coming up really quickly,” said Brancarella. “It’s like a one or done shot. If you adopt it on Jan. 1, it has no effect.”

New York Local Officials Taking Action

Municipal leaders across the state have begun to take notice, and movements to enact bans on cannabis businesses are already underway. In North Salem, a suburb of New York City in Westchester County, the Town Board has set a hearing to be held June 22 via Zoom on a proposed opt-out ordinance. At a meeting of the board on May 25, Supervisor Warren Lucas said that if the town opts out of the businesses, the decision can be reversed at a later date.

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With the country seeing a variety of marijuana reform measures advance in spring 2021, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas and South Carolina are now the only states in the country where marijuana is fully criminalized.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a limited medical marijuana bill into law in May, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also signed legislation in May that will legalize medical marijuana in the state. Further reform has also been advancing in states which have already legalized or decriminalized marijuana, such as Nevada, Louisiana and Conneticut.

There is also movement in Wyoming, Idaho and Kansas that could change marijuana’s legal status. The Libertarian Party and other activists will be delivering two ballot initiatives to the Wyoming Secretary of State on Friday — one that would legalize medical marijuana and another that would decriminalize marijuana for personal use.

The Idaho Citizens Coalition similarly turned in 20 signatures of registered Idaho voters to begin the work to get a marijuana decriminalization measure on the 2022 ballot on June 3.

Medical marijuana legalization bills in Kansas and South Carolina stalled in May but could see movement in 2022, according the Marijuana Business Daily.

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The state Senate passed legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis just before 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The bill passed 19-17, with six Democrats voting against and one Republican voting in favor. Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, and Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, both voted and stood to argue against the measure.

While the state House is expected to debate the bill over the next few days, time is dwindling to push the bill through the legislature, as the legislative session ends Wednesday at midnight.

House leaders acknowledged the tight deadline, especially given the fact that the House plans on taking up the state budget on Tuesday, but maintained confidence that the bill would become law.

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, said he believes the votes are in place to pass the bill.

"It's largely the same as what came out of judiciary committee about two months ago, but we've made adjustments," he said Monday. "We do have a strong commitment from the House Democratic caucus to vote on a cannabis bill."

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The state House on Monday approved a set of revisions to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, seeking to make permanent some of the changes put in place temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Representatives voted 164 to 38 for the bill, which would permit dispensing a three-month supply at a time, up from one month’s supply. Patients will be able to continue to pick up their medicine outside a dispensary, rather than coming inside the building.

State Health Department communications director Barry Ciccocioppo said the agency was concerned about provisions of the bill he said threaten product quality and patient safety.

” We look forward to working with the legislature to resolve these concerns for the best interest of Pennsylvanians,” Ciccocioppo said.

The legislation would also let caregivers provide help to more than five patients at once and would ease the process by which contaminants must be removed before the final testing. Grower-processors would be permitted to use pesticides under standards the Agriculture Department would develop.

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Marijuana Advocacy groups Are Pushing Congress To Pass A Federal Cannabis Bill This Month

A collection of influential advocacy groups are pushing for federal cannabis reform. Both the ACLU and NAACP are pressing the heads of a congress to conduct a vote. This vote would be in regards to a House bill to legalize cannabis on a federal level. The vote and potential passing of the bill are trying to be accomplished by the end of the month.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) shared their thoughts on cannabis reform. This was done in a letter that was sent just last week, to the House leadership. The group stated that it’s important to pass the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act. Back in 2020 the MORE Act passed the House and is now being reintroduced.

Ever since last year when the House approved the MORE Act. “the circumstances of this past year have made the War on Drugs even more untenable and amplified the voices of those demanding transformation in our criminal-legal system,” the groups wrote.

“In the face of a growing national dialogue on discriminatory law enforcement practices, including the disproportionate policing of drug use in communities of color, transforming our criminal-legal system and redressing its harms is more relevant and more pressing than ever before,” the letter states. “Marijuana reform represents a modest but necessary first step toward that transformation and toward repairing the harm wrought by the War on Drugs. The MORE Act remains the most effective and equitable way forward.”

Federal Cannabis Reform A Step In The Right Direction

Jerrold Nadler who is the Judiciary Committee Chairman has stepped up as the sponsor of the bill. This bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. As well as erasing the past cannabis crimes for people who have been in trouble with those issues. Next, this bill would also impose a federal tax on cannabis. The tax money that is made from legal cannabis would be used to rebuild communities and fund other programs. 

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A collective of organisations, businesses, and working groups have united to launch The Cannabis Industry Council – the first representative cannabis body dedicated to advancing the UK’s cannabis sector.

The Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) has been launched following renewed calls for the Government to reduce the red tape hampering the cannabis industry. The CIC aims to set standards and drive meaningful change within the UK’s medical cannabis and CBD sector. It is made up of almost 100 members who have collaborated to define and maintain gold standard industry practice.

The Council brings together disparate organisations, businesses and working groups, including clinics, patient access groups and doctors, insurers, licensed producers, and cannabis infrastructure bodies. Membership invitation has also been extended to representatives from the Home Office, The Department of Health, and NHS England, in the hope of strengthening ties between the cannabis industry and the UK public sector.

Supporting the UK’s cannabis sector

With six sub-groups, Quality Standards, Parliamentary lobbying, Research, Environmental & Social Responsibility and Hemp, the CIC is calling for patients to be better supported by the sector and for the government to reduce the red tape currently restricting the growth of the industry.

The Council will be organising a round table where leading public and private bodies across the UK will be invited to discuss how the UK can develop a robust cannabis industry which could drastically improve patient access and stimulate the economy post pandemic.

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Police in Great Britain reportedly discovered that a 17th century castle had been used as a massive cannabis growing operation.

The castle, located in the southern region of Somerset, is apparently owned by a “controversial British aristocrat” named Sir Benjamin Slade. Known as Woodlands Castle, it “is known locally as a high-end wedding venue and is situated just a few miles away from Slade’s other castle—an ancestral home that dates back to the 13th century,” according to the Canadian newspaper Regina Leader-Post.

The newspaper reported that Slade “has long been a provocative figure among British peers thanks to his massive firearms collection and provocative statements (especially regarding women and foreigners), having once placed an ad seeking a ‘castle-trained’ wife who would be a good ‘breeder.’”

He had apparently offered Woodlands Castle to the British government to serve as a medical site during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they Leader-Post says that “the proposal was evidently declined, and he ended up renting out the property instead,” and that authorities at this time think Slade was unaware of the illegal marijuana operation at the castle.

“Officials took multiple days to remove plants and cultivation equipment from the building, but have not shared whether any damage was incurred to the centuries-old property as a result of the grow,” the newspaper reported. “Trung Nam Pham, 39, was arrested and appeared in court last week on the charges. He will remain in custody pending a crown court hearing.”

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