Queer in Cannabis: Inclusion Is the Solution

As a queer woman from New York who’s been involved in the cannabis industry for more than three years, I’ve met dozens of LGBTQ people, ranging from millennials to baby-boomers and activists to executives. As a new industry, cannabis benefits from growing in a time where there’s more awareness of the value of diversity.

“The medical part of this industry has deep roots [in the AIDS crisis] that has been forgotten about over the decades,” says Josh Drayton, Communications and Outreach Director for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA). Drayton, who started his cannabis career in Humboldt County more than a decade ago as an out gay man, helped launch CCIA’s Diversity and Inclusion program, which focuses on mentorship for underrepresented communities. He’s also worked on the launch of Sprout, an LGBT-inclusive space for the Bay Area cannabis industry.

“I started to get concerned about the lack of LGBT representation when I went to some of the Cannabis Cups,” Drayton explains, “because of the extreme white male presence and advertising geared toward heterosexual men.”

While many legal-cannabis companies have begun to focus on advertising that appeals across genders, the key to change is diverse leadership and a willingness to call out bad behavior.

United States Senate Passes Bill to Legalize Hemp

The full United State Senate just overwhelmingly passed a farm bill that includes a provision to legalize hemp.

The Senate voted 86 to 11 to pass a farm bill which includes a provision to legalize industrial hemp across the United States. Championed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), legislation would end a decades-long prohibition on a plant that congressional research shows can be used to make over 25,000 various products.

The same research shows that the U.S. imports over half a billion dollars each year in hemp products, yet retains a law that makes it illegal for farmers to grow it.

During a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said that “Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp. But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves.” McConnels says that this has “left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.”

 

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Poll: Majority of Arizona Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

According to an Emerson College poll released this week, a solid majority of voters in Arizona are in favor of the state legalizing marijuana for adults.

“When voters were asked about legalization of marijuana, 53% approve and 39% disapprove”, states the poll. “Democrats (66%) and Independents (62%) are in strong support for legalization, while only 32% of Republicans support legalization, 61% oppose.”

Legalization was particularly popular among  those 18 to 34 years old, with 65% in support and just 20% opposed. Specifically, polling participants were asked: “There is an initiative for the legalization of marijuana for adults 21 and over in Arizona. Do you support legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and over?”

“Currently it would lean in favor of legalization,” says Emerson professor Spencer Kimball. “But when we dug in side those numbers we saw that the group that is most split on the issue were Hispanic voters”, with 45% in favor of legalization compared to 44% opposed.

Emerson College notes that “There are two initiatives that would legalize marijuana in the state that could make the ballot in November. One is focused on legalizing marijuana, while the other is focused on legalizing all drug.

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Study: Cannabinoids Exert Neuroprotective Effects in Those With Vascular Dementia

Cannabinoids exert a neuroprotective effect on the cognitive deficits caused by vascular dementia, according to a new study published by the journal Psychiatry Research, and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health.

A 3D model of vascular dementia (photo: Alzheimer’s Association).

“Vascular dementia (VaD) is characteristic of chronic brain ischemia and progressive memory decline, which has a high incidence in the elderly”, states the study. “However, there are no effective treatments for VaD, and the underlying mechanism of its pathogenesis remains unclear.”

With that in mind, “This study investigated the effects of a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN) on VaD, and molecular mechanisms of the effects.”

Using a variety of tests conducted on rat models, it was found that WIN55,212-2 – which is meant to mimic the effects of natural, cannabis-derived cannabinoids – “decreased the expression of Capase-3, and improved the learning and memory impairment of VaD rats.” Researchers state that “These data indicate that WIN exerts a neuroprotective effect on the cognitive deficits of VaD rats, which may be associated with the suppression of excessive autophagy and inflammation.”

More information on this study, including its full text, can be found by clicking here.

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Don’t miss the MPP and NJCIA Golf Tournament in New Jersey on July 15

In partnership with the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association (NJCIA), the Marijuana Policy Project is bringing supporters together for a friendly golf competition at the Linwood Country Club in New Jersey as we ramp up legalization efforts statewide. Please join us just across the bay from Atlantic City as we bring policymakers, politicians, cannabis industry experts, and friends together for a round of golf followed by a cocktail reception on Sunday, July 15.

We are grateful to Gov. Phil Murphy for his commitment to ending marijuana prohibition in New Jersey. As a trusted leader in marijuana policy reform, MPP has worked on the front lines of changing marijuana policies and laws, both federal and state, for 23 years. Our event partner, the NJCIA, is the state’s largest nonprofit trade organization dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis through sensible policies that optimize the responsible growth and development of New Jersey’s cannabis industry.

FORMAT OF PLAY:
Better ball scramble

SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY:
1 p.m.: Afternoon Shotgun Start FOR GOLFERS ONLY
5-8 p.m.: Cocktail Reception and BBQ, Awards Ceremony and Program

REGISTRATION INFORMATION:
Individual Golfer: $350 per person
Foursome: $1,400 per foursome
Cocktail Reception and BBQ ONLY: $125 per person

For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, please contact Dara Servis of the NJCIA at dservis@newjerseycia.org.

Registration fee for golfers includes food and beverages during the day and also includes the cocktail reception and barbecue at the al fresco bar and dining patio overlooking the course. Menus are created by the same legendary team behind the acclaimed Dock’s Oyster House, Knife and Fork Inn, and Harry’s Oyster Bar in Atlantic City.

LODGING INFORMATION:
Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City
Number to call for room registration: (888) 516-2215
Group Name: NJCIA Room Block
Group Code: SB07NJ8 Bally’s
For online booking, use this link.

 

This event will sell out, so register today!

The post Don’t miss the MPP and NJCIA Golf

Delaware House majority votes to legalize cannabis, but bill fails

On the evening of June 27, the Delaware House of Representatives voted 21-15 (with five not voting) to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults. This was only the third time that the majority of a state legislative chamber voted to legalize and regulate marijuana!

Unfortunately, however, a majority was not enough. A three-fifths supermajority — 25 votes — is required for any Delaware bill that includes taxes and fees.

While we are disappointed that this will not be the year Delaware legalizes marijuana, together we’ve made tremendous progress. This is an election year, and we’ll be putting together a candidate questionnaire and voter guide, so stay tuned! Helping elect allies is an important way to make sure prohibition ends sooner rather than later in Delaware.

If you are a resident of Delaware …

Please take a moment to email your state representative to thank them if they voted “yes” or to politely express disappointment if they didn’t. (Many voters and lawmakers alike evolve on the issue, and it’s crucial that we don’t alienate lawmakers.) Once you type in your contact information, a draft email will appear based on how your representative voted.

You may also want to send a note of gratitude to the remarkable legislative champions, Rep. Helene Keeley and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, to thank them for their relentless work. They are both retiring from the legislature, and they championed both medical cannabis and decriminalization, too.

In other news, a bill to make it easier to expunge marijuana possession convictions passed the Senate in May and is on the House floor now. Please also call your representative to ask them to vote “yes” on SB 197 so that Delaware will stop derailing dreams for conduct that is decriminalized.

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Compassion wins: Oklahoma legalizes medical marijuana!

Mark another victory down for 2018. Oklahoma just became the 30th state to approve medical marijuana, as voters approved SQ 788 57% to 43%!

Despite an advertising blitz from opponents in the final days before the election, the Yes on 788 team emerged victorious. Thanks the campaign’s efforts — and the voters of Oklahoma — tens of thousands of patients will soon be able to safely access medical marijuana with approval from their doctor.

The passage of State Question 788 highlights the strength and diversity of public support for laws allowing the medical use of marijuana. It is noteworthy that this measure passed in such a red state during a primary election, when voter turnout tends to be older and more conservative than during a general election.

Oklahoma lawmakers now plan to pass legislation to implement State Question 788. Read a summary of SQ 788 here.

The win in Oklahoma shows that our movement for sensible and compassionate marijuana policies is growing stronger and stronger. Later this year, voters in Utah and Michigan will also have an opportunity to approve legalization initiatives. Please consider supporting these important efforts:

>> Donate to the Utah medical marijuana campaign.

>> Donate to the Michigan legalization campaign.

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Florida Attorney Who Helped Legalize Medical Marijuana Looking to Put Full Legalization to a Vote in 2020

John Morgan, who was the driving force behind Florida’s successful medical marijuana legalization campaign, is looking to put the full legalization of marijuana to a vote of the people by 2020.

Attorney John Morgan is the founder of United for Care, a nonprofit organization that successful placed an initiative to legalize marijuana on the 2016 ballot, which was subsequently approved by voters.  Responding to state lawmakers working to restrict the voter-approved law, Morgan says he’s working to legalize marijuana for all adults.

“Maybe it’s time for full legalization”, Morgan said in a recent Tweet. “It would pass with Flying Colors!” Morgan goes on to say that “I’m going to look at starting a fund where we all can donate to get full marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2020”.

Morgan says that “When you mess with the will of the people there are unintended consequences! The cannabis industry is well funded now. Money won’t be a problem.”

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Oklahoma Voters Legalize Medical Cannabis

Oklahoma voters have legalized medical cannabis through the passage of State Question 788.

The initiative allows those with a recommendation from a physician to possess and use up to three ounces of cannabis (eight ounces at home), and up to 72 ounces of cannabis-infused products such as tinctures, edibles and topicals. Patients will also be allowed to grow up to six mature cannabis plants, and six seedlings.

State Question 788 legalizes a licensed and regulated system of marijuana cultivation centers and retail outlets, with the latter authorized to sell medical cannabis to any qualified patient.

Below are some further details on the new law, which makes Oklahoma the 30th state to legalize medical cannabis:

  • Obtaining a state-issued medical cannabis license will require a board-certified physician’s signature.
  • There’s no list of qualifying conditions, meaning a physician can recommend cannabis to anyone they believe could benefit from it.
  • Medical cannabis sales will be taxed at 7%, Tax revenue will be allocated to administrative costs, education, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Municipalities are prohibited from restricting zoning laws to prevent marijuana dispensaries

 

The full text of State Question 788 can be found by clicking here.

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Problems Plague MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data Systems in Washington State

On June 14, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) issued a news update to the state’s marijuana industry, alerting them that LCB had received a notice the week before “that there had been unauthorized efforts to tamper with data derived from commercial software that integrates with the state traceability system.”

This is just the latest in a series of troubles for MJ Freeway.

Washington switched over to the their Leaf Data Systems‘ traceability and compliance monitoring software (i.e., seed-to-sale tracking) on February 1. It was breached two days later. Data were stolen and systems were corrupted, disrupting business operations across the state.

Plants with seed-to-sale tracking

LCB took several days to notify businesses of the reason for that disruption, which is standard procedure for the state, probably added to the growing sense of mistrust among businesses toward the state and the Leaf system. LCB’s Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) noted in a recent quality assurance review that “the security incident right after going live along with the disrupted system workflows and the backlog of responses to phone calls, tickets and bug fixes severely deteriorated the trust that licensees and software integrators had in Leaf Data System, the vendor, and in WSLCB staff.”

Oklahoma, the Fourth Most Conservative State, May Soon Become the 30th to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Oklahoma is one of the most conservative states in the U.S., but tomorrow it may become the 30th to legalize medical cannabis.

According to Gallup, Oklahoma is the fourth most conservative state, with Mississippi, North Dakota and Wyoming narrowly taking the lead in that category. Despite this, activists were able to collect well more than the number of signatures required to place a medical cannabis legalization initiative on the primary ballot. Now, in just a matter of hours, Oklahoma voters will have the opportunity to pass that initiative. This would make Oklahoma the 30th state to legalize medical cannabis, marking 60% of the entire United States.

The passage of State Question 788 would be important for a number of reasons, beyond the fact that it would inherently benefit thousands of people by legalizing a vastly medicinal plant. For one, it would demonstrate that a comprehensive medical cannabis initiative can pass in a heavily conservative state, despite opposition greatly outspending the measure’s proponents. This would strongly indicate that medical cannabis has embedded support across the nation that’s becoming (or maybe already is) unbreakable.

In addition, the initiative doesn’t establish a list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions; instead, it leaves it up to physicians to decide what conditions they feel could be benefited from cannabis use. Passing an initiative with this setup may encourage lawmakers and activists in other states to take a similar approach when advocating  for a law change, rather than establishing an arbitrary and often restrictive list of conditions.

For those who plan on, or are considering voting in tomorrow’s primary, you can find voting information and tips by clicking here.

For the full text of State Question 788click here.

The post Oklahoma, the Fourth Most Conservative

U.S. Senate Approves Bill Allowing Veterans Affairs Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana

The full United States Senate has passed a bill that allows physicians at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend medical marijuana to patients living in states where the medicine is legal.

The Senate voted 86 to 5 on a spending bill that includes a provision to finally allow veterans living in medical marijuana states to receive recommendations from their physicians at the VA.

The measure states that “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs in this Act may be used in a manner that would —

(1) interfere with the ability of a veteran to participate in a medicinal marijuana program approved by a State;

(2) deny any services from the Department to a veteran who is participating in such a program; or

(3) limit or interfere with the ability of a health care provider of the Department to make appropriate recommendations, fill out forms, or take steps to comply with such a program.”

The House of Representatives must now approve the measure before it can be sent to President Trump for consideration.

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Epidiolex Becomes First-Ever FDA-Approved Drug Derived From Marijuana

According to a press release sent out this morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for the treatment of seizures associated with two forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older.

This marks the first time the FDA has ever approved a drug that contains a substance that was directly derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies”, says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development”.

Gottlieb continues; “Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes. We’ll continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products and work with product developers who are interested in bringing patients safe and effective, high quality products.”

Despite these comments, Gottlieb says that “at the same time, we are prepared to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with serious, unproven medical claims. Marketing unapproved products, with uncertain dosages and formulations can keep patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.”

According to the FDA, Dravet syndrome is “a rare genetic condition that appears during the first year of life with frequent fever-related seizures (febrile seizures). Later, other types of seizures typically arise, including myoclonic seizures (involuntary muscle spasms). Additionally, status epilepticus, a potentially life-threatening state of continuous seizure activity requiring emergency medical care, may occur. Children with Dravet syndrome typically experience poor development of …

Study: THC/CBD Spray Provides Pain Relief to Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Sativex, a medical spray made from cannabis using equal parts THC and CBD, is effective in providing pain relief to those with multiple sclerosis, according to newly released research.

“Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)/cannabidiol (CBD) (nabiximols or Sativex®) is an oromucosal spray formulation containing THC and CBD at an approximately 1:1 fixed ratio”, states the abstract of the study, which was published by the open access journal Medicines. “Its administration for the treatment of pain in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been established. ”

Noting that “MS patients generally complain of different kinds of pain, including spasticity-related and neuropathic pain”, researchers “compared and evaluated pain modulation and thermal/pain threshold of MS patients before and after THC/CBD administration.” 19 MS patients underwent “clinical examination, numerical rating scale (NRS), quantitative sensory testing (QST), and laser-evoked potentials (LEPs) before and after 1 month of therapy.” Psychophysiological and neurophysiological data were compared to sex- and age-matched controls.

“Patients reported a significant reduction in pain”, states the study. “We found statistically significant differences in LEP parameters between patients and controls but no significant change in LEP measures after THC/CBD therapy. Cold and heat detection thresholds were altered in patients but did not change after THC/CBD therapy.” There was a significant increase in cold pain threshold by hand stimulation and “a significant reduction in abnormal cold perception thresholds.”

The study concludes by stating that “Our results indicate that Sativex® therapy provides pain relief in MS patients and suggest that it might modulate peripheral cold-sensitive TRP channels.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Study: THC Blood Levels “Do Not Correlate Well” With the Level of Driving Impairment

A new study has found that “blood levels of tetrahydrocannabinol do not correlate well with the level of impairment”, and heavy marijuana use doesn’t consistently lead to “cognitive and psychomotor impairment”.

“Marijuana is the most widely consumed illicit substance in the United States, and an increasing number of states have legalized it for both medicinal and recreational purposes”, begins the abstract of the study, which was published in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health. “As it becomes more readily available, there will be a concurrent rise in the number of users and, consequently, the number of motor vehicle operators driving under the influence.”

With that in mind, the study examined “the cognitive and psychomotor effects of cannabis, as well as current policy concerning driving under the influence of drugs.” To do so, “The authors performed a MEDLINE search on the epidemiology of cannabis use, its cognitive and psychomotor effects, and policies regarding driving under the influence of drugs.”

Twenty-eight epidemiological studies, 16 acute cognitive and psychomotor studies, 8 chronic cognitive and psychomotor studies, and pertinent state and federal laws and policies were reviewed.

Researchers found that “Current evidence shows that blood levels of tetrahydrocannabinol do not correlate well with the level of impairment.” In addition, although acute infrequent use of cannabis typically leads to cognitive and psychomotor impairment, “this is not consistently the case for chronic heavy use.”

The study concludes by stating that “To establish the framework for driving under the influence of cannabis policy, we must review the current published evidence and examine existing policy at state and federal levels.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

The post Study: THC Blood Levels “Do Not

Oklahomans to Vote Tuesday on Legalizing Medical Marijuana

The state with the country’s harshest marijuana laws can become the 30th to legalize medical cannabis on June 26 when Oklahoma voters go to the polls to decide on State Question 788.

The measure would allow licensed patients and/or caregivers (18 years old or older) to grow up to 12 plants and create a commercial market with dispensaries, cultivators, processors and testing labs. To apply for the latter licenses, you’ll have to be 25 years old. Read the text of SQ 788 here.

Currently in Oklahoma, possession of any amount of flower, hash, concentrates or paraphernalia are misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Sale or distribution are felonies, punishable by a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $500,000 fine for flower and $50,000 for concentrates. See NORML’s guide to Oklahoma Laws & Penalties here.

YES ON 788’s WILLIAM JONES: “State Question 788 was designed to make Oklahoma the most patient-oriented and business friendly state for the medical marijuana industry.”

Predictably, Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford opposes the measure: “If you read it, it’s a recreational marijuana bill. It’s very clear the way it’s written, to allow people to have access to it, in quantities they can grow, they can store, they can have, and it’s very open on how you get a prescription and what it can be for. So, it’s most definitely an opening toward recreational marijuana. I do not think the best thing that we can do for our kids is to get their parents and grandparents to smoke more marijuana. I have yet to see a single employer come to me and say, ‘You know what I really need? I need more employees at lunch smoking marijuana before they come back for the afternoon. That’s what I really need more of in my workplace.’”

Massachusetts Approves State’s First Recreational Marijuana Business License

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve the state’s first-ever recreational marijuana business license.

Cannabis Becomes Legal TonightThe commission approved granting the license to Sira Naturals, a marijuana cultivation facility (located in Milford). The company currently grows medical marijuana.

“We’re very excited about it and we are going to work very, very hard to continue our tradition of providing premium cannabis sustainably grown and sold with integrity,” said Sira Naturals CEO Michael Dundas following the commission’s approval of his company’s license.

Following yesterday’s meeting Steven Hoffman, Cannabis Control Commission Chairman, said that “Even though this is a significant milestone”, he wants “to stress it’s the beginning, not the end”. The commission is expected to reviews dozens more applications in the coming days.

Sira Naturals was granted a tier-3 license, allowing them to grow between 10,000 – 20,000 square feet. Although they can’t sell what they grow to consumers, they can sell it to licensed marijuana retail outlets, who in turn will supply it to anyone 21 and older who wishes to purchase it.

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New York: Governor-Commissioned Report to Recommend Legalizing Marijuana

New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced this week that a forthcoming report conducted by his office will recommend that the state legalize marijuana.

The Health Department report will recommend that “a regulated, legal marijuana program be available to adults in the state”, Commissioner Zucker said at a recent press conference. “We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons. We have new facts.” The complete report is expected to be released in the near future, potentially as soon as next week.

The announcement from Commissioner Zucker comes just weeks after the New York City Comptroller’s office stated that they estimate New York would garner $434 million in annual tax revenue if the state legalized marijuana for adults.

The upcoming Health Department report was commissioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who hasnt publicly endorsed legalization.

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Delaware Legislature Unanimously Approves Bill to Expand Medical Cannabis Law

Legislation that would add two new conditions that qualify someone to become a medical cannabis patient has been passed by Delaware’s full legislature.

According to its official summary, House Bill 374 “adds glaucoma and chronic debilitating migraines to the list of debilitating medical conditions which may qualify a person, upon certification by a physician, to be eligible for the use of medical marijuana in accordance with the terms of the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act.”

The measure was passed by the House of Representatives last month in a unanimous 41 to 0 vote. It was passed by the Senate yesterday, also unanimously (19 to 0). The bill will now go to Governor John Carney for consideration. Although Carney has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without a signature, or vetoing it, the legislature can override a veto with 2/3rds vote.

Below is a list of the current conditions that authorize an individual to become a medical cannabis patient in Delware:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Intractable epilepsy*
  • Nausea
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms

 

House Bill 374 was introduced by Representative Peter Schwartzkopf with 23 cosponsors. Initially the measure would have also added “pediatric autism spectrum disorder” and “pediatric sensory processing disorder” to the state’s medical cannabis program, but the House amended the measure to remove these conditions.

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Hemp to the Future: U.S. and Canada Industrial Crops on the Rise

While enthusiasm around the legal cannabis business continues to build, the hemp industry may be poised for explosive growth as well.

For now, however, public equity investors have relatively few options for hemp compared to the availability of cannabis stocks on the OTC market, such as Canadian companies that trade in Canada and the U.S. and larger companies with some exposure to the booming legal cannabis investors.

More of an agricultural and industrial product, hemp fiber and seeds are used in a wide variety of products; in addition, the plant contains CBD, a cannabinoid that can be extracted. Its use gaining in popularity for its purported health benefits.

Hemp is a close relative of cannabis, but does not contain psychoactive properties that make you feel high. Despite that fact, federal law classifies it under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug.

Despite this, 38 states currently have pilot programs in place to grow hemp. Most were set up after Congress included a measure in the 2014 Farm Bill that laid out hemp guidelines for states to follow. Under those guidelines, 11 …

Summary of C-45, the Bill That Legalized Cannabis in Canada

Here’s the summary of Bill C-45, the legislation passed by Canada’s Parliament on June 19 that legalizes marijuana:

“This enactment enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale.

“The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.”

The Act

“(a) establishes criminal prohibitions such as the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including its sale or distribution to young persons, and the unlawful possession, production, importation and exportation of cannabis;

“(b) enables the Minister to authorize the possession, production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis, as well as to suspend, amend or revoke those authorizations when warranted;

“(c) authorizes persons to possess, sell or distribute cannabis if they are authorized to sell cannabis under a …

Canada legalizes marijuana!

Marijuana prohibition is history in Canada. Last night, after months of negotiations, Parliament approved a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults. After one formality — Royal Assent — Canada will become the second nation to end marijuana prohibition and the first G7 country to do so.

Regulations vary by province, but most set age limits at 18 or 19 to match the legal age for alcohol and tobacco in Canada. Once the law takes effect, adults can possess up to 30 grams and grow up to four plants in their homes. Read more about this historic legislation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to move quickly to implement the new policy, and retail marijuana stores will soon be opening just north of our border.

And that is all the more reason for our Congress to enact the STATES Act, which would allow American states to decide their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

This is an important day to acknowledge. After decades of harm caused by marijuana prohibition laws, nations around the world are beginning to come to their senses. Canadians should be proud that their country is leading the way among major governments.

Let’s not fall too far behind — call your members of Congress today. And please consider donating to MPP to support our efforts.

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NY Health Dept. will expand medical program; looks favorably toward adult use

The Health Commissioner of New York, Howard Zucker, recently announced that a long-awaited study by the Cuomo administration will recommend the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adult use. The study is believed to be at least partly in response to gubernatorial primary candidate Cynthia Nixon’s strong support of marijuana legalization.

Mr. Zucker also announced that the Health Department will issue regulations to allow patients who have been prescribed opioids to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program. Not all patients can qualify under the existing chronic pain provision, since opioids may also be prescribed for severe but short-term pain, such as after surgery. The New York Senate also passed a bill to do the same, as well as to allow patients with opioid use disorder to qualify.

While the state’s legislative session is ending soon, New York is moving closer to ending marijuana prohibition!

In other news, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, under increasing pressure to address the racial disparity in low-level marijuana arrests, announced a new policy designed to reduce arrests and give more tickets instead. Unfortunately, the policy, which will take effect September 1, has so many exceptions its impact may be limited.

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Now That Canada Has Legalized Cannabis, Celebrate at ICBC Vancouver

With the passage of the Senate bill C-45 on June 19, Canada officially legalized marijuana.

Canada is the second country to make such a move. Uruguay legalized it in 2013.

“Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

The margin in favor was an overwhelming 52 to 29, with two abstentions. The bill gives provinces eight to 12 weeks to begin selling marijuana commercially. Originally, the plan was to launch on July, but the legislation forced a delay.

The ICBC will take place in Vancouver.

It’s the perfect time to attend an event in Canada’s cannabis capitol, Vancouver, affectionately known as Vansterdam. The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) there is scheduled for June 24-25. It’s not too late to register and book flights and hotel reservations at Sheraton Wall Centre.

“The ICBC is fortunate that our Vancouver event is occurring just five days after the first G7 nation on Earth legalized,” says Alex Rogers, ICBC founder and CEO.

Why Vancouver over Toronto as a choice of location? “Toronto is clearly the Canadian cannabis financial capital,” …