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

Marijuana and hemp-related businesses are one step closer to gaining access to South Dakota banks.

House Bill 1203 proactively lays groundwork for banks and their subsidiaries to work with any person that acquires an industrial hemp or marijuana license, pending legalization of the substances at the state level. The legislation passed in the state House of Representatives on Monday afternoon with a vote of 64 in favor, four opposed and two excused.

Without a bill of this kind, those involved in cannabis industries would only be able to carry out business transactions in cash, as marijuana is considered an illegal business at the federal level.

The legislation’s prime sponsor Rep. Hugh Bartels, R-Watertown, noted during Monday’s session that banking in industrial hemp and marijuana is “heavy in compliance” issues, and that not all banks will choose to opt into working with these industries.

No state representatives besides Bartels spoke on the bill.

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This is a great week for New Jerseyans, though many argue the celebration is long overdue.

On Monday, Feb 22, Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that legalizes the retail sale of cannabis and removes criminal offenses for possession of up to six ounces of cannabis for individuals 21 and older.

On election day in 2020, New Jersey voters displayed enthusiastic support for Public Question 1, which asked if they approved of adults having access to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers.

Despite overwhelming support, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri noted that it took 111 days after that vote to achieve consensus to enact enabling legislation into law.

“During this undue delay, over 6,000 citizens faced charges for activities most New Jerseyans demanded be legalized. It is our hope that lawmakers and regulators going forward implement these laws with a renewed sense of urgency,” said Altieri. 

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There is no way to talk about the use of any kind of cannabis in Europe without running into a mouthful of long, number-delineated if not hyphenated directives. Cannabis Sativa L is, ultimately, a plant with many uses by humans. Every one of those applications, but particularly consumables, carries its own rules. 

The cosmetics space is no exception. 

There is good news though. Critical pieces of such regulation have now been changed over the last several months in the EU, and it will have a huge impact on the development of the vertical across the region.

The Changes Now In Effect In The EU – By The Book

Here is the official version of what just happened. Up until February 3, 2021, natural cannabidiol (CBD) was banned from use in cosmetics under the European Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009  per section 306 – Narcotics, natural and synthetic of Annex II. This is also known colloquially as the “CosIng Index” which requires products to contain a list of ingredients under their common names on the packaging label.

The first natural CBD listing in CosIng has now been added. 

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Industrial hemp has a less than 0.3% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive agent in Marijuana) level.
Furthermore, hemp was removed from its classification as a controlled substance.

The Farm Bill contains a change of how industrial hemp is now classified.

Under the Farm Bill, hemp is no longer considered a controlled substance non-hallucinogenic cousin of marijuana; hemp has been considered a controlled substance because it has that tiny amount of THC. However, hemp has about as much chance of getting someone high as honeybuns have got someone drunk (honeybuns contain a correspondingly small amount of alcohol.)

So, other than a wholly undeserved stigma created by an industrial juggernaut engaging its political allies to remove its biggest competitor through a campaign of utter falsehoods and racially-charged exaggerated fabrications: there is absolutely no reason not to farm hemp and reap all the socio-economical benefits from farming hemp in 2021. None.

The pathway to a uniquely versatile product that produces millions of dollars within 100 days has been approved, cleared, and green-lighted by the Biden Administration and the US government. On a planet whose atmospheric composition has become a bit too heavy with carbon dioxide lately, the carbon-sequestering ability of hemp offers yet another win-win scenario. The more hemp planted, the more CO2 neutralized.

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For years, the pattern has held: The New Hampshire House recommends fully legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the Granite State, and the Senate shoots the measure down.

Perhaps not this year.

In a notable move late last month, the House Criminal Justice Committee recommended that the 400-member body scrap two bills that would greatly loosen marijuana laws in the state. After one hearing, the committee recommended putting off until next year House Bill 237, which would legalize the use marijuana, and House Bill 629, which would legalize it and allow growing at home.

 

 

The 14-7 vote was opposed by seven Democrats on the committee.

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As many feared and expected, Republican senators are objecting to Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ proposed budget for Wisconsin, which includes legal cannabis. 

In addition to advocating for federal legalization, the budget talks about some other, progressive concepts, including raising the minimum wage, reforming the juvenile justice system, and expanding medicaid access. 

“I would describe his budget as a liberal’s dream,” said Sen. Howard Marklein of Spring Green in response to the proposal. Marklein and Rep. Mark Born of Beaver Dam are standing against the proposed budget. 

This is not the first time Republicans rewrote much of the proposed Wisconsin budget. The same thing happened in 2018. That year, cannabis legalization was also removed. 

With this current budget, Evers is arguing that the $165 million a year brought in could support those in rural areas and those in need of social equity support. 

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The final quarter of 2020 saw medical cannabis flower imports into Germany reach more than 3.2 tonnes.

Prohibition Partners reports Germany saw 37% year-on-year growth in flower imports. However, the year-on-year growth was well down on 2018 and 2019, which both topped 100%.

The situation in Germany has been the result of problematic implementation of domestic production, although the first locally cultivated and manufactured medical cannabis products should be available in March this year, with domestic cultivators expected to supply Germany with at least 2,600 kilograms of medical cannabis per year.

Last year, the total amount of dried cannabis flower imported into the country was 9,249 kilograms.

The situation to this point in Germany has been a positive one for exporters from other countries, including Australia. Among the Australian companies to ink deals in Germany are Althea and Little Green Pharma. Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) produced cannabis flower has reportedly been available in Germany since late last year.

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New Jersey’s long-delayed effort to legalize recreational marijuana has veered again into chaos, despite voter approval and a pause on pot prosecutions that has left some offenders in limbo.

Governor Phil Murphyhas until Monday to act on two bills that would bring him closer to fulfilling a pledge he made more than three years ago to legalize pot. For months, he has been wrangling with fellow Democrats, who control the legislature, over language in the measures to address how law enforcement would treat people under 21 in possession of marijuana.

Lawmakers have pushed back previous deadlines on the matter, and the state missed the voter-approved Jan. 1 date to legalize. Murphy hasn’t commented on his plan for Monday. If he doesn’t veto the two marijuana bills, which passed the Senate and Assembly, they will become law. Alternatively, if lawmakers fear a Murphy veto, they could invoke a procedural rule to reset the clock on the due date for his consideration.

“It will be a colossal mistake if he doesn’t sign them,” said Senator Nick Scutari, a Democrat from Union, who has been pushing legalization for more than a decade. “The people of New Jersey have spoken.”

Political Liability

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By now most people are aware that Illinois passed sweeping legislation in 2019, which decriminalized cannabis for recreational use. The law also contains provisions to prevent discrimination in certain legal proceedings. But the anti-discrimination provision is not being widely followed by courts – at least not in some parts of the state. To better understand this problem, it’s important to draw on some personal experience. As a former public defender for a rural county in Illinois, I’ve been able to observe first-hand how policy often conflicts with practice. 

Anti-Discrimination in the New Law

Built directly into the new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, there is a provision entitled “DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED.” It can be found at 410 ILCS 705/10-30.  The text of that section states in part:

Neither the presence of cannabinoid components or metabolites in a person’s bodily fluids nor possession of cannabis-related paraphernalia, nor conduct related to the use of cannabis or the participation in cannabis-related activities lawful under this Act by a custodial or noncustodial parent, grandparent, legal guardian, foster parent, or other person charged with the well-being of a child . . .

. . . shall form the sole or primary basis or supporting basis for any action or proceeding by a child welfare agency or in a family or juvenile court, any adverse finding, adverse evidence, or restriction of any right or privilege in a proceeding related to adoption of a child, acting as a foster parent of a child, or a person’s fitness to adopt a child or act as a foster parent of a child, or serve as the basis of any adverse finding, adverse evidence, or restriction of any right of privilege in a proceeding related to guardianship, conservatorship, trusteeship, the execution of a will, or the management of an estate . . .

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President Joe Biden received a letter from 37 members of Congress on Thursday urging him to issue a blanket pardon for nonviolent offenders with convictions for federal marijuana crimes. The letter was led by Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and 35 other leaders and members of the House of Representatives including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.

In the letter dated February 18, the members of Congress called on Biden to continue efforts that were initiated during his term as vice president to address injustices caused by the failed War on Drugs.

“During your previous tenure at the White House, President Obama understood that decades of harsh and discriminatory federal drug laws unfairly trapped minority individuals and communities in cycles of despair,” they wrote. “That is why he used the tools of justice to grant clemency for 1,927 individuals convicted of federal crimes. Most of these individuals had been convicted on drug charges and would not have been sentenced so harshly, if at all, under today’s standards.”

“Your Administration has the power to expand on this legacy and issue a general pardon to all former federal, non-violent cannabis offenders in the U.S and trigger resentencing for all those who remain federally incarcerated on non-violent, cannabis-only offenses for activity now legal under state laws,” the letter continues.

NORML Praises Leaders In Congress

Justin Strekal, the political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), expressed his appreciation for the members of Congress leading the charge for cannabis policy reform.

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Hawaii Senate Says Yes To Cannabis Legalization

Hawaii Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs voted in favor of two cannabis measures on Tuesday. (h/t Marijuana Moment)

The first bill asks for adult-use cannabis legalization and the other to amend the state’s current decimalization law.

The Aloha State decriminalized the possession of up to three grams of cannabis in 2019, under a law that went into effect in 2020.

The law also replaced criminal penalties with a $130 fine.

The new bill, SB 758, proposes decriminalization for up to 28.5 grams of cannabis. It is now sent over to the Judiciary Committee.

could marijuana legalization unite a divided country

Morocco, Europe’s largest cannabis supplier, is falling behind against countries that have legalized cannabis as German imports grow. Even amid the COVID-19 crisis, Germany’s medical cannabis imports hit a record high in the fourth quarter of 2020. The country imported nearly 10,000 kilograms of legal medical cannabis in 2020.

While traditionally Morocco has supplied 70% of Europe’s demand, all of Germany’s legal imports were supplied by countries that have legalized their cannabis industry. Whereas much of the illegal market in EUrope continues to rely on untaxed exports from Morocco, the legal market is being supplied by Canada, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Spain, Australia and Israel.

Research by cannabis market insiders Prohibition Partners shows steady growth in the domestic medical cannabis market in Germany despite an otherwise difficult year for the country’s economy. 

Germany’s medical cannabis market grew by 100% in 2019, and continued its growth by another 37% according to the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. Germany is adding to its import with a budding domestic industry that produced 2,600 kilograms of medical cannabis for domestic use.

Evolving market

 

The global cannabis market is rapidly evolving from a relatively unknown, yet much-hyped, economic promise, to a maturing market bringing in significant revenue. 

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A new bill in Indiana would give more people a chance at beating a flawed system. And police are not happy.

Marijuana decriminalization is the latest buzzword in the weed world. It’s a move that President Joe Biden has said that he would be willing to impose nationwide. The concept typically means the elimination of criminal penalties associated with the possession of marijuana. In most cases, decriminalization lets anyone caught in possession of up to an ounce of weed slide with a small fine. The offender doesn’t get jammed up in the criminal justice system.

However, in parts of the country, those which remain some of the most militant toward marijuana offenders, the definition of decriminalization has changed. It is now being defined by one Indiana state representative as a way to prevent law enforcement from charging motorists with DUI.

Indiana has had it tough when it comes to changing its marijuana laws. For years, lawmakers have proposed various bills intended to lessen the criminal penalties associated with low-level marijuana offenses. But the Republican-dominated legislature has seemingly made it it’s life’s work to stop anything pot-related from going the distance. They’re even opposed to prosecutors tossing out pot cases.

Still, lawmakers keep returning to the drawing board in hopes of concocting some version of a marijuana bill that they believe can become law. The latest one, introduced by Republican State Representative Jim Lucas, is a weird “decriminalization” measure designed to increase the THC-blood intoxication limit to 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood while operating a vehicle rather than zero


State lawmakers in Maryland’s House of Delegates are considering a bill that would legalize marijuana and expunge convictions for some past cannabis offenses. The measure, House Bill 32 (HB 32), went before the House Judiciary Committee at a legislative hearing on Tuesday.

Under the bill, possession of up to four ounces of marijuana would be legalized under state law, and convictions for possession or cultivation of marijuana in amounts made legal by the measure would be expunged. The judiciary committee also discussed how a regulated cannabis market would affect the state.

Before Tuesday’s committee hearing, Del. Jazz Lewis, a Democrat from St. George’s County, said that the bill would help address the harms caused by failed marijuana policy.

“I’m about to testify on HB 32 to end the prohibition on cannabis and create pathways into the industry for those most harmed by the war on drugs,” Lewis said on Twitter. “This bill is equity in action.”

During the House committee hearing, Lewis said that clearing past cannabis convictions is a necessary part of legislation addressing marijuana policy reform.

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Why is it so difficult for lawmakers to accept that medical marijuana literally saves lives?

In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal found “an increase from one to two dispensaries in a country is associated with an 17% reduction in opioid mortality rates.”

Despite overwhelming evidence in support of medical marijuana, Florida Legislature is in talks to cap THC levels in smokable medical cannabis. If passed, the move would make it more difficult for patients to get the dosage they need for medical efficacy. 

Last week, Virginia Sen. Amanda Chase was spouting misinformation on Twitter, stating that legalizing marijuana would add to the state’s drug problem and “lead to more overdoses and deaths.”

It’s because of false statements like these and fear mongering that cannabis holds such a negative stigma. As such, medical marijuana users in Florida are facing an unjust threat to their access to medicine. 

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In four years, the cannabis industry’s job growth has increased 161%, quickly beating predictions from other industries 10 years from now.

Leafly’s fifth annual cannabis jobs report showed the cannabis industry to support 321,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021! An incredible number for an amazing and highly-deserving industry.

Cannabis jobs aren’t accurately reported to the Department of Labor because it’s federally illegal, so in partnership with Whitney Economics, Leafly has been filling that gap since 2017! The result is a goldmine of knowledge, and always filled with incredible cannabis job data.

The 2021 report found that there are more legal cannabis industry employees in the United States than:

Electrician engineersEMTS and paramedicsDentists (more than twice as many!)

The United States added 77,300 full-time jobs in the cannabis industry in 2020, despite the ravaging pandemic. This represents a 32% year-over-year job growth, which is absolutely phenomenal considering 2020 was the worst year for U.S. economic growth since World War II.

Why The Cannabis Industry Is Perfect For Socially Responsible Investors

A new report notes that Germany set a record by importing nearly 10,000 kilograms of medical cannabis in 2020, but its relationship with exporters is beginning to change as more countries sign supply agreements and domestic production ramps up.

From 2018 to 2019, the amount of medical cannabis imports grew by 100 per cent, but increased only 37 per cent in 2020, according to new analysis from Prohibition Partners, a global cannabis market intelligence firm.


Germany has relied on the Netherlands and Canada for much of its cannabis in recent years, but importation from the Netherlands fell by five per cent in 2020, as additional countries, including Uruguay, Spain, Austria and Israel, began exporting medical cannabis to the country.

In its analysis, Prohibition Partners predicts that the balance of supply will continue to shift away from the Netherlands and Canada in favour of countries with lower production costs. Domestic cultivation is also a factor, with Germany expected to supply at least 2,600 kg of cannabis per year, and potentially much more than that, in the future.

Some of Canada’s largest licenced producers have supply agreements in place with Germany, including Canopy Growth, Aphria, Aurora, Cronos Group and others.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is contemplating legalization, which would make it one of few countries in the world to do so and signify a major about-face for the conservative party.

The Globe editorial board is correct that it’s time to end the failed war on marijuana at the federal level and begin to repair its harms to Black and brown communities (“Congressional Democrats look to end pot’s legal limbo,” Feb. 10). As Congress and the Biden administration explore what a reparative federal framework might look like, they will look to states like Massachusetts. Our leaders will determine whether we are a role model or a cautionary tale.

As one of the “small group of advocates” who met last week with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon about comprehensive and equitable cannabis reform legislation, I can tell you there is great national interest in states that have sought to reinvest cannabis revenue into communities targeted by marijuana prohibition and to ensure that they have a piece of the billion-dollar industry.

But we need to finish the job. Last year, I joined other cannabis regulators in calling on our state officials to implement oversight addressing corruption in municipal processes, and to use marijuana tax revenue for an entrepreneurial loan fund similar to the one in Illinois. The Legislature failed to act on these or any marijuana bills last session. Our window to demonstrate success is closing.

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On February 5th, state lawmakers voted to legalize cannabis in Virginia and establish a recreational market. Both chambers’ initiative would legalize possession of an ounce of marijuana or less, and begin the process of expunging certain cannabis-related misdemeanors on July 1st. Retail sales are predicted to start in 2024, per the plans of both the House and Senate.  

Virginia already has a medical marijuana program, but it’s limited compared to most states. Even so, the medical program is expected to be valued at $50 million in sales by 2024, and the adult-use market is poised to grow even bigger. 

Here’s what you need to know about the newly introduced adult-use legislation in Virginia: 

The vote passed through the Virginia General Assembly on February 5th 

Both chambers passed the bill to legalize cannabis for adult use at the beginning of February. The bill was introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin, who said “I think that Virginia is on a path to an equitable legalization plan for marijuana. There have been a few bumps, but I’m hopeful that we’ll have a polished bill we can agree upon in the next few weeks,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin.

The House passed the bill 55-42 

House Democrats were in favor of the bill, while Republicans were opposing it. The House’s version of the bill would maintain all cannabis criminal penalties until January 1st, 2024, when the first adult-use retail sale is set to take place. 

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Officials are said to be considering ways of raising funds through the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) to help fund development and innovation in the burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry.

Word of this has come from Shantal Munro-Knight, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA), who said every effort was being made to ensure that locals have a major stake in the industry.

Munro-Knight opted not to say what mechanisms were being considered for raising funds through the BSE, but added that critical to the growth of the medical cannabis industry was the creation of strategic linkages and innovation.

“One of the proposals that has come before us is for raising financing through a stock exchange mechanism. I won’t speak to that definitively because that is under consideration, but just to signal that our intent is as much as possible to facilitate innovation in the industry and create as much critical linkages and make sure there are benefits right across the spectrum for Barbadians,” Munro-Knight told journalists in an online media conference recently.

Stating that there were opportunities for individuals to get involved in the industry indirectly, including in retail and distribution, she said one linkage that had tremendous potential was that between the medicinal cannabis industry and health and wellness tourism.

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